What type of childbirth is right for you?
April 28, 2015
You see it all the time in movies: pregnant female, water breaks, look of shock on her face, and a mad dash from her partner to find her bag, then proceeding to run to the door, usually forgetting the keys, and then once at the hospital, hysteric, sweaty screams from the pregnant lady as she’s giving birth. All the while, the partner’s hand is being squeezed far too hard, and then… ta-da! A newborn (who looks strangely bigger than an actual newborn baby AND much cleaner) has arrived! But wait… What if I told you this isn’t exactly the scenario that happens when it comes to childbirth? Guess what: YOU have options on what YOU want when it comes to your labor and delivery.
Do you prefer a natural labor? (Meaning: no unnecessary medications with as close to a natural experience for you and baby as possible?)
Are you nervous about the pain factor associated with labor and delivery and not afraid of drugs to help ease the pain?
Have you heard stories of women who had to get a C-section even though they were determined not to?
We’ll shed light on each of these methods, so you have a better understanding of each to find what birth plan best fits your needs. Personally, I have gone through 2 of the 3 options and will share with you what, by far, was my best labor at the end of the article.
If you want to remain in control of your body when in labor and not have any unnecessary drugs in your body, or, if you’re hoping that your significant other plays a vital role in your labor, a natural labor may be what you’re looking for. With this type of labor, you’ll want to prepare mentally and emotionally well ahead of time. There are plenty of techniques that will help you through labor, including hypno-birth, changing of positions, breathing exercises, visualization, relaxation techniques- including having access to a tub, and massage, just to name a few. To help you learn these different techniques, many rely on a doula or a midwife. You too can use a physician, but remember that midwives and doulas specialize in specific exercises to help you get through a drug-free labor. Also, your significant other will play a big part in assisting you in the labor. So, if your better-half is a little squeamish and gets nervous when it comes to talking about the actual labor and delivery (and, yes, this is a thing), you’ll want someone else on-hand to help.
You can receive an epidural to help with an induction (starting the process of labor) or for regular labor and childbirth. An anesthesiologist generally administers an epidural on your spine in your lower back. Some say the actual administering of the epidural is more painful than contractions, as you receive 2 shots: one that feels like a bee sting for numbing purposes, and another that feels like A LOT of pressure. But once the epidural is in, the drugs are administered through the catheter and will help alleviate the pain of the contractions. For me, I could still feel pressure once a contraction was happening, but it wasn’t painful by any means. (Just don’t remind me about my first labor when the epidural wore off on the left side of my body! Yes, that can happen too.) In most cases, you can choose how much medication you’d like. If you are feeling more pain than you’d prefer, you can push a button that will administer more drugs into your body.
After the labor, the lower half of your body will feel numb, and it will take time for that sensation to wear off. You won’t be able to get up and walk around for some time and will need help moving from side to side while you are lying down. Your nurses will help you get up and move for the first time, so be sure to listen to their instructions. Also, it is common to feel back pain from the epidural. There can be other complications, so be sure to ask your Labor and Delivery Nurse or the Anesthesiologist any and all questions you might have regarding the epidural.
A cesarean section (commonly referred to as a C-section) is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in the mother’s belly and uterus. A C-section may be planned or unplanned. In most cases, doctors do cesarean sections because of problems that arise during labor. Reasons you might need an unplanned C-section include:
+ Labor is slow and hard or stops completely.
+ The baby shows signs of distress, such as a very fast or slow heart rate.
+ A problem with the placenta or umbilical cord puts the baby at risk.
+ The baby is too big to be delivered vaginally.
When doctors know about a problem ahead of time, they may schedule a C-section. Reasons you might have a planned C-section include:
+ The baby is not in a head-down position close to your due date.
+ You have a problem such as heart disease that could be made worse by the stress of labor.
+ You have an infection that you could pass to the baby during a vaginal birth.
+ You are carrying more than one baby (multiple pregnancies).
Because a C-section is a major surgery, it carries more risk than a normal vaginal delivery. According to Webmd.com, here are some of the possible risks from a C-section:
+ Infection of the incision or the uterus.
+ Heavy blood loss.
+ Blood clots in the mother’s legs or lungs.
+ Injury to the mother or baby.
+ Problems from the anesthesia, such as nausea, vomiting, and severe headache.
+ Breathing problems in the baby if it was delivered before its due date.
Most women go home 3 to 5 days after a C-section, but it may take 4 weeks or longer to fully recover. (By contrast, women who deliver vaginally usually go home in a day or two and are back to their normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.)
Don’t forget that you can always ask your doctor or midwife what their history of labor and delivery scenarios have been. I have asked both of my OBGYN Doctors what their C-section percentage is and have been very open in letting them know what I hope my labor and delivery would be like.
And… as you may have remembered, I did mention I would let you know what my favorite labor was. I have had 3 babies. The first I had an epidural that wore off. That hurt. The second was natural, but not on purpose. My baby boy came so fast there wasn’t enough time to administer an epidural! And, with the third labor, I had an epidural that worked. What delivery was the easiest and most peaceful labor for me? The last one. I couldn’t believe how relaxing my labor was! It was great.
Remember, you DO have choices when it comes to labor. Create a birth plan ahead of time. Talk to your doctor about it. Once you go into labor, make sure your Labor and Delivery Nurse is also aware of your intentions for your labor.
Here’s to a happy and healthy delivery!
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