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Birth Plan: What Will Typically Happen During Labor At Hospital And What Are The Alternatives

Birth Plan: What Will Typically Happen During Labor At Hospital And What Are The Alternatives

Pregnancy is a period of great joy and quite a few difficulties for all women, but it is all well worth it, because at pregnancy’s end new life is created and a new child is brought into the world. What most women have a trepidation from is the process of labor not pregnancy as a whole. While we know a lot about pregnancy today, even boys are taught the basics, the process of labor and options available to us are rarely explained to us in school or lectures.

We are here to discuss your birth plan and help you get a better understanding of the procedures you can opt for or against while going into labor at hospital. We are also going to discuss the alternatives you can go for, and attempt to move aside the veil of mystery from this topic.

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Birth plan

Your birth plan is a document which serves the purpose of reminding your medical staff what preferences you have when it comes to procedures you want used during your labor. Once labor starts, you are not going to be focused enough to make these kinds of decisions and this is why most hospitals hand out birth plan brochures before labor. Keep in mind that a birth plan is not set in stone and that you can’t control every aspect of your labor, so remain flexible and consult your physician about your options.

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Labor

Now we are going to discuss what happens when a woman goes into labor and arrives at the hospital. We are going to mention some alternatives and options you can go for, but keep in mind that not everything works for every pregnancy, which is why you need to consult your choices with a physician before making a decision.

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  • The fact that you have gone into labor doesn’t mean that you will be admitted right away. A nurse or a doctor will evaluate the progress of your labor and after that three things can happen. You can admitted immediately, asked to walk around for a bit or be sent home till the time is right.
  • After admittance, depending on the hospital policy you may be allowed to bring support with you. This may include your partner, family, friends – basically the choice is yours. You may also be allowed to bring some comfort objects like amulets, religious objects, photos, pillows or make other requests like dimmed lighting, soothing music or something else entirely. Be reasonable though, and inquire about hospital policies in advance.
  • IVs are not a standard procedure in most hospitals but you will be asked to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Shaving and enemas are also not standard procedures in hospitals anymore.
  • If your baby’s heart rate is normal you will not be constantly hooked up to a fetal monitor, which allows you to move more easily. Again, this all depends on the hospital policy so make sure you inquire about it.
  • Pain management comes next. There are three options to choose from: unmedicated, medicated and epidural birth. If decide to go for unmedicated birth you may want to inquire about labor props that the hospital can provide and which ones you can bring to help you along. Medicated and epidural birth require a more intensive consultation with your physician.
  • In case of a labor that has stopped your medical staff may recommend that they help you along by intervening either through breaking your amniotic sac or through administering Pitocin.
  • The medical team is there to help you do all the right things but your body might be your biggest natural ally. A lot of women push when they feel it is the best time to it signaled by their body and instinct.
  • Most people believe that the proper position for giving birth is by lying on your back. This isn’t true and you can opt for squatting, semi-sitting and so on.
  • Episiotomies are not routine procedures, but there are situations in which your medical staff will recommend it as necessary.
  • In some situations a birth may be assisted by the staff by using vacuum or forceps to extract the baby.
  • In case of a C-section, in the majority of situations, you support person will be allowed to stay with you and you will be awake through the process. In other, more complicated cases, the mother is put under general anesthesia and the support person is asked to leave.

After giving birth

After a successful vaginal birth the baby is given to the mother and is covered with a blanket to keep the baby warm. You can specify if you want to hold the baby right away or wait for the staff to bathe and dry the baby off.

  • If there are now emergencies you can usually ask for all the follow up procedures and test to be done in the room with you. If your baby needs emergency assistance you support person can accompany him/her into the other room.
  • Your support can cut the umbilical cord, but you need to notify your provider of this.
  • In recent studies there are signs that letting the blood flow through the umbilical cord a bit longer may help with iron deficiency and anemia with newborns so you may ask for this part to be delayed.
  • Banking cord blood needs to be arranged prior to birth and isn’t something that can be decided on the spot.
  • You can choose to breastfeed or use formula and you can start doing so as soon as you and the baby are ready.
  • Deciding if you want to use the pacifier or not is also something you can have impact on.
  • Finally, most hospital encourage mothers to spend as much time with their babies as possible for bonding purposes. Inquire about the hospital’s policy.

Well, that is a lot to take in, but all of this information is intended to help you view the process of giving birth at a hospital from a position of knowledge. You can do further research on each and every one of these points if something concerns or interests you. You can use this information to start working on your birth plan but remember that you need to remain flexible and rely on the guidance of your medical team. Happy childbirth!

Featured photo credit: 5 meses / José Manuel Ríos Valiente via flickr.com

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Aleksandar Ilic

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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