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Managing pain during labor

Erin M. Hurley Waters
One of the most common concerns women have during their pregnancy is how to manage pain during labor and delivery.  Labor pain may be more or less intense than you expected, or may hurt in a different way. It is hard to predict how any labor will go or how anyone will respond to pain.

Labor pain is due to contractions of the muscles of the uterus and by pressure on the cervix. This can feel like strong cramping in the abdomen, groin, and back. Some women experience pain in their sides or thighs as well. Women can also feel pressure on the bladder and bowels by the baby's head and the stretching of the birth canal and vagina. Some find the hardest part is not the contraction itself, but the fact that the contractions keep coming.  

One of the best ways to alleviate fears for women is to learn about the available strategies for coping with pain. There are both medical and non-medical tools that may be a good match for you.

While you are deciding, think about what appeals to you most. Ask your health care provider these questions:

Talking to kids about cancer

Tricia Matteson, MSW, LSWAIC

Tricia Matteson, MSW, LSWAIC
Oncology Social Worker

What do I tell my kids?” 

This is often the first question I’m asked by a parent with a new cancer diagnosis.  One of the most important things for parents to remember is that they know their children better than anyone else and they love them more than anyone…they can trust themselves to do this well.
 
Beyond that general reassurance, however, there are some practical tips for talking with children about a cancer diagnosis. 
 
Prepare for the conversation 
 
Think about your goals for the conversation.  What does your child need to know?  How you can help your child understand what’s going on?  How do you want your child to feel after the talk?  Who should tell your child you have cancer and can the person talking to your child stay relatively calm?
 
When and where should I have this conversation?  You don’t have to wait until you have all the answers.  Be prepared to ...

Special team of volunteers at Swedish MS Center

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

 
On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Swedish hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Celebration dinner and awards ceremony at the Seattle Tennis Club.  The event was to acknowledge and give thanks to all the volunteers who generously donate their time, and energy, to making Swedish a people friendly place.  The event was attended by more than 220 Swedish volunteers.
 
Our very own Swedish MS Center registered nurse Kim Lozano, and Certified Pet Therapy Volunteer Kathy Knox, and her Certified Therapy Dog Ocho (yellow Labrador retriever) were honored as Swedish’s “Featured Volunteer Program: The Leo Project.”  Kim created The Leo Project, better known as the Leo Pet Therapy Program to enhance the services we offer our MS Center patients and their families.  The name “Leo” was selected to pay tribute to Kim’s beloved dog Leo who passed away at the age of 13. 
 
Kathy Knox and therapy dog Ocho deliver comfort and care to all people who pass through our MS Center’s walls.  Ocho ...

Why aren't my bowel habits normal?

Genee Holtzman, ARNP
Do you have irregular, uncomfortable, or distressing bowel habits? Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal condition affecting an estimated 15% of the general population.  It is most common among women aged 30 to 49 years old.

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive system that is not generally associated with more concerning findings of anemia, weight loss, family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal discomfort, constipation and diarrhea. Despite extensive research, no common cause of IBS has been identified. Some theories include:

Insufficient evidence to support complementary and alternative therapies for multiple sclerosis

James D. Bowen, MD

A guideline was recently published about the use of complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis (MS).

The guideline process involves identifying all of the scientific articles about potential therapies and evaluating them based on their scientific merits. The evaluation process follows a strict set of requirements related to the conduct of the research.

The review included a wide variety of complementary and alternative therapies that have been proposed for MS. Not surprisingly, most therapies did not have sufficient scientific data to determine whether or not they were effective. Some cannabinoid preparations (marijuana extracts) were shown to be effective, primarily for spasticity. This reflects a relatively large number of studies done with these compounds and the availability of a commercially available extract in some countries. A handful of therapies were shown to be ineffective. Most therapies had insufficient studies to determine their effectiveness.

The importance of this review is that it ...

Spiders and Bees and Bugs, Oh My! Treating insect bites and stings

Benjamin M. Starnes, MD, FAAP

Benjamin M. Starnes, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Physician

Another beautiful Seattle summer is just around the corner.  As we stare out windows and wait for our long days of sunshine to begin, know this – the bugs are doing the same thing!  Any day now all our biting, stinging, and pinching friends will begin to appear.  Make sure you prevent bites with insect repellants.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using repellants containing 30% or less of DEET for all children older than 2 months of age.  But if a bite happens, arm yourself (and your medicine cabinet) with a treatment plan to get your kids back outside ASAP.
 
Treatment for ...

How we do recycling at Swedish Ballard

Rose Yates, RNC, BSN

Rose Yates, RNC, BSN
Charge Nurse, Ballard Family Childbirth Center

Did you know that the health care industry in the United States is the second largest producer of waste sent to the landfill?
 
Swedish works to improve our efforts each year by reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting. The Ballard campus had a recycling rate of 59% in 2013, one of the highest recycling rates in the country. The industry average is 36%. This campus composted 132,480 pounds of yard and food waste, and recycled 77,300 pounds of comingled materials. We accomplish this by the combined efforts of employees, patients and guests.
 
How do we do this?
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