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.
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.
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.
- 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