Most people know that you need to be completely informed about all your pregnancy care options but did you know that you have labor and delivery options that need your knowledge just as much?
When I comes to labour and delivery most people seem to expect their prenatal care provider to inform them of their option and what will work best for you, but shouldn’t you know what’s best of you and your baby? In todays society it seems there is still fear and anxiety around labor and delivery, especially with natural care, labour and delivery options. Fear and its associated stress can also cause more serious problems that may contribute to both early and late deliveries, smaller babies, a higher risk for an emergency Cesarean section. Why not get out there and find the information that can save your labor and delivery from the horror section of recaps?
Most women who have there births in the hospital think that the nurses or doctors will tell you how to labour properly and they know best when it comes to happy mom and baby, but why? You know your body and baby best, don’t you? Most hospital practices are meant as a general for everyone but you can have a say in how you want your experience to be. Here are some things that most women don’t know:
Did you know you could turn down the lights in your hospital room?
The main hormone that helps you to labour effectively is called oxytocin. It shapes the frequency, length and strength of your contractions, and works best if you feel calm, safe and relaxed.
**Labour Partners – Even just being near your wife during labour can help with natural flow of oxytocin. Want to be more helpful? find out how your partner likes to be touch while experiencing their painful contractions and use supportive language.
Did you know you could limit vaginal exams?
Stress and anxiety make your body produce fight-or-flight hormones, such as adrenaline. Vagina exams can make your body feel vulnerable and actually stopping the oxytocin flow and in turn slowing down your progression in labour.
Hospitals only look at dilation as progression but did you know that other factors are just as important?
Hospital staff will offer you medications and C-sections based on failure to dilate in the labouring hours but there are other questions you can ask to determine for yourself if you are progressing in other aspects. Before you make a decision you can ask, has my effacement improvement? This refers to the thinning of your cervix; if it has improved then yes you have made some progress. What is the station of my baby? This refers to the depth of your baby in your pelvis, if you baby is deeper, then yes you have made progress. Has my baby moved position? This refers to the position of how you baby is facing.
Of course everyones main focus is health baby and mom, if your baby isn’t reacting poorly to the contractions then you are safe to say that you want to continue to labour natural before having interventions.
Did you know most moms go to the hospital to early?
Most parents are eagerly waiting for the day labour begins but you will labour better in your home environment. Most women show up at the hospital only 2cm dilated, most are thinking they need to be at the hospital to be monitored and this is a safer environment for labour. Your labour will slow once you are at the hospital due to many factors that your body does automatically. As a general rule, you don’t need to travel to your place of birth until contractions are 4 minutes apart; lasting 1 minute and it has been that way for 1 hour. Telling signs from the mother includes mom in the zone and non-verbal, moaning in the contractions, losing modesty (clothes are coming off) and she has no desire to eat anymore.
In doing the early labour at home you can progress you labour nicely with a better chance of avoiding hospital intereventions.
Did you know that hydration and urination are key?
A hydrated cervix is a happy cervix! During labour the cervix is the largest muscle in your body and its working very hard to push your baby down into a good position. Reward your self with a drink after every contraction. This can be a simple sip of water or you can go for a low sugar electrolyte options like coconut water or Ener-C packs.
During labour a women wont feel the need to pee so partners need to be there to remind her go to the washroom every 30-60 mins. Think this is excessive? Maybe but can you imagine the pain of a full bladder being pushed on by a baby and your cervix? Plus most women are happy to avoid having catheters inserted when its discovered how full your bladder is but you can’t urinate on your own due to baby’s position.
By being a little more informed about your choices during labour, you could make decisions that you feel informed in turning your delivery story into a positive memory.