Palinism of the Day

>> Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Reporter: So did your water break?

Sarah Palin: Well, if you must know more of those type of details, but, um…

Reporter: Well, your dad said that and I saw him say it so that’s why I asked.

Sarah Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her.

Sarah Palin, Anchorage Daily News, interview done on April 21, 2008; published April 22, 2008
I came across this quote today while reading the Palin's Deceptions blog in a post titled "A Biology Lesson." This is THE best refutation I've read of Sarah Palin's story that she began leaking amniotic fluid before giving a speech at a governors' conference and then decided to fly 2 four-hour flights while still leaking amniotic fluid.
First, though, a bit more of our biology lesson. What is amniotic fluid? Most people know it's what surrounds the baby, but where does it come from? It is not something the mother produces, at least later in pregnancy. By the eighth month, the majority of what makes up amniotic fluid is the by-product of the fetus's urinary system; quite bluntly, it's the baby's pee. By 34 weeks, in a normal pregnancy there is about a quart of amniotic fluid. The quantity diminishes a bit by 40 weeks.

Many labors begin with some leaking (or even a large full-blown rupture) of the amniotic sac. For other women, the sac will rupture at some point during labor. If labor is left to progress fully naturally, sometimes the sac never ruptures and the baby is born still encased in it, though most birth attendants now will artificially rupture the sac before this point. (Being born still in the sac (the caul) traditionally was considered good luck, even magical. Here's an article from Wikipedia about it. )

When membranes rupture prior to any other signs of labor, what does this mean? What should be done? I've read some more extreme comments that membrane rupture is an "emergency," and Gov. Palin should have immediately called an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. Most birth attendants would say that that is a bit much. However, it is considered absolutely mandatory that once membranes have ruptured, within a sensible time frame of an hour or two, someone needs to check the baby's heart tones. Why? Because as soon as there is any leakage of fluid, additional compression can be put on the umbilical cord. It's possible in rare cases for the cord to actually slip down between the baby's head and the side of the uterus, at times even coming out through the cervix. This IS a MAJOR EMERGENCY, and the only way to rule out cord problems is to check the baby - fairly promptly. However, it's pretty clear that almost twenty four hours passed from the time that Gov. Palin first has stated that she saw some signs of amniotic fluid until she actually saw a physician.
The full post is REALLY worth reading.

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