Who wouldn’t want a smooth birthing experience? Studies show walking during early labor opens the pelvis – and helps baby get into position, which can reduce the need for cesarean sections. One metro Detroit hospital is turning those stats into a stroll – literally.
There’s now an interactive early labor walking path for expectant moms in early stages of labor at the Harris Birthing Center at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township. The path, which opened in early June 2019, features nine stations with videos and information about delivery and postpartum care.
“We want this to be as educational as possible,” says clinical nurse specialist Madonna Ladouceur, who helped implement the path. “The little tidbits explain why walking, breathing and hydration are so important.”
The path joins other hospital features here like nitrous oxide for pain management, all-in-one-room labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum stays and essential oils.
“I had my own baby here two years ago and was very pleased with the treatment,” Ladouceur adds.
Curious what you’ll encounter along the path? Here’s a look at the nine stations:
1. Introduction to the path
Before moms decide to walk through the interactive path, they can watch a video detailing what it entails. It previews the other eight stations and what to expect.
A video instructs moms on the proper way to do a pregnant squat – and recommends they do 20 repetitions in order to align their pelvis and get baby into position.
A continuation of the last station, this video gives moms tips on proper lunge execution (with the same desired outcome as the squats).
4. Labor advice
Here, a video explains to parents what tools and techniques doctors will use during labor, getting into the best birthing position, how to know when to push and more.
5. Hydration station
Located by the cafeteria, this station informs moms on the importance of staying hydrated and encourages them to stop and get some ice chips.
6. Lactation support
This station is located near the hospital’s medical supply store, where parents can buy breast pumps and other lactation products if they’re interested. The consultant in the video is Ladouceur herself.
She says, “We hope moms take the opportunity to stop at the station and learn about breastfeeding. We have three lactation consultants on site, and we are all available for any questions that moms might have.”
7. Maternal support person
Ladouceur says that oftentimes, mom’s support team doesn’t know how to help. This station sorts that problem out. It gives tips on keeping mom happy – how to give back rubs, where to get ice chips, how to help with breathing and more.
“We know this is a family centered experience, and this station is inclusive of whoever is helping with the delivery. We encourage helpers to walk with mom.”
8. Pediatric solutions
Located near the pediatric unit, this station helps parents learn how to choose the right pediatrician for them and offers a list of pediatricians in the area.
9. Just relax
The last station on the path plays relaxing music to remind mom to stay calm moving forward with the labor.