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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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Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

Reference

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