Tools of the Trade - Tape Measure
maternity, Midwife, pregnancy, prenatal, tools of the trade

Tools of the Trade – Tape Measure

This Tools of the Trade series is a spin off of a weekly business networking group that I attend.  I get 60 seconds every week to share about midwifery and birth with other business owners.  60 seconds is hard to fill.  What do I talk about in 60 seconds?  There is so much to say about home birth and birth in general.  How do I condense it down to 60 seconds?  What can I say in one minute?  Dr. Misner, the founder of this worldwide organization, recommends in his podcasts that we break our businesses down to the lowest common denominator.  He used a realtor for his example which stumped me at first.  I then realized I could talk about all the little ways that I help women, using my tools or telling parts of the stories of why women seek out my services.  You can read more on my other post here.

Have you had your belly measured by your midwife or OB?  Did they explain why?  Was a tape measure used or a funky looking tool like giant salad tongs?  While touching your belly, did they do anything else?

Many of the procedures that I use were passed down in my schooling and apprenticeship.  I take some of the things that I do for granted.  More and more I am finding not every obstetrician or midwife does the things that I am mentioning. I will ask a client to lay on my exam table, so that I can play with her belly.  Many of them are shocked because they have never had their bellies touched by their previous provider.

What I do

I use a tape measure just like the one in the picture.  There is nothing fancy about it.  It is just a $.99 tape measure from Hobby Lobby.  I use it for measuring uterine growth.  The tape measure is placed on the symphysis pubis and ran over the height of the uterus, until you reach the fundus of the uterus.  Typically the growth of the uterus tracks with your weeks of pregnancy, example 20 centimeters equals 20 weeks pregnancy.  It is not abnormal for a woman to be consistently a centimeter ahead or behind.  A huge decrease in size can indicate pending miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction, or malnutrition.  A huge increase can indicate twins or polyhydraminos (excessive amniotic fluid).  Further testing may be necessary based on your particular situation.

While my hands are already on your belly, I will feel for baby’s position.  With my hands, I start by determining head from bottom and then find back from there.  When I am done, I listen to baby’s heartbeat which usually confirms the position that I am getting.  Any skilled provider should be doing this at your appointments during the third trimester.  Certain conditions like excessively tight stomach muscles such as in athletes, polyhydraminos, twins, or even just a funky fetal position.

What about you?  Did your care provider do these techniques?  Did they explain what they were doing and why they were doing them?

Tools of the Trade - Tape Measure
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Mercy Eizenga LM, CPM

Mercy Eizenga LM, CPM is the head midwife and owner of Comforts of Home Midwifery. Mercy was first exposed to homebirth when she witnessed the birth of her little brother at the age of 7. Her interest in natural childbirth grew with the birth of her first child and then attending Bradley Natural Childbirth classes with a friend a year and a half later. Attending her first birth as a doula verified that she was called to be a midwife. Mercy attended the Association of Texas Midwives Training Program and completed an apprenticeship with what is now the Corpus Christi Birth Center. She holds Texas and Louisiana state licenses and holds her Certified Professional Midwife with the North American Registry of Midwives.

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