Birth and pregnancy go side by side with good maternal care, and for that, most mothers end up trusting their doctors and midwives the most, which is only natural. However, in those ushered little visits for check-ups, more often than not there are a lot of questions that are left as hanging question marks in the air. Besides this, there are certain things that the midwives miss, or just don’t tell you. These seemingly minor pieces of information actually carry a significant weight for both you and your baby, So, here we offer to answer some of the most commonly asked questions to give you some insights into matters that your midwife may have just skipped in that little chat you had at the clinic.
Less Painful Labour that Lasts for a Short Time is Actually Possible!
You may have heard your doctor or midwife tell you that your baby needs to be in the head down position for an easy and less painful delivery. What they didn’t tell you is that the baby also needs to have its back to your tummy and its chin tucked low. This position will allow the baby to easily glide through your birth canal. What usually happens is that the majority of the time that women spend in labour is wasted in the body’s attempt to re-position the baby in this ideal position.
This may take a significant time, which results in prolonged and painful labour. However, if the baby is positioned ideally, before labour even begins, the body will have to waste less time in positioning, and more in delivering, ultimately resulting in a less painful ordeal for the mother. So, how do you do it? Well,there are certain exercises and yoga that help in correcting the position of the baby before the delivery. The process is called ‘spinning babies’ and those mums who have tried it, swear by it!
Epidurals – Are you ready for the cost?
There is more to cost, than money. Firstly we should say that there is nothing wrong with having an epidural, however, you need to weigh out its advantages and disadvantages in order to better decide whether it is right for you. You may think that an epidural is your way our of a sticky situation, but, on the contrary, it may land you in a much more problematic spot! Agreed, there are cases where it’s best to have them, however, you need to think about avoiding this medication if you are having a normal delivery without any major complications. The reasons for this are the immense list of problems that come linked with them, which can include:
- Increased chances of perineal tearing as you fail to realise how effectively you are pushing and keep doing it unaware of the fact that you are actually damaging yourself.
- Baby distress is increased dramatically
- Vacuum suction may have to be employed as you lose the ability to sense how much force you need to put in to deliver the baby
- Chance of a caesarean section is increased significantly
- Labour gets prolonged as the baby is less likely to be guided into the best position for delivery
- Epidurals may not actually work effectively, which leaves you in no better position than before
- You will be restricted to your bed and won’t be able to eat or drink for a while after an epidural
Labour at home
You might think – what’s the difference between showing up early or late at the hospital? You intend to deliver at the hospital, so why wait? Well, the reason is that there are many influences around the hospital that can affect your labour pattern. Your oxytocin levels (oxytocin is the hormone driving the delivery), are susceptible to influences in the early stages of labour. So, if you show up at the hospital 1-5 cm dilated, they will just keep you waiting for things to move on, like at home, but on the downside, any adrenaline rushes, fright or sudden experiences can disrupt the oxytocin release pattern and hence, prolong delivery. However, assuming you live relatively close to the hospital, if you spend most of the labour at home, chances are that by the time you reach the hospital, you will be dilated 6 cm or more, at which point the oxytocin will have kicked into a self-regenerative cycle and will be harder to interrupt. Hence, making way for a faster and less painful delivery.
Plan for a Natural Birth
Your doctor or midwife may not tell you this, but there are actual classes that focus on different aspects of the birthing process. They also teach you practices and exercises that will help you deal with the pain and the labour. These sessions also teach you how to go through with the process and what to expect during a delivery, clearing your doubt about the much-feared process. You can look for a hypnobirthing specialist online. Naturally, a birth is a miracle and any mother would do anything to lessen the pain of bringing a new soul to this world. These practices target just that, and help you avoid a number of surgical interventions for a natural, easier and less painful childbirth.
Many women seem to think that breastfeeding comes as a natural process. After all, mothers have done it since the start of life, right? Wrong! You need to prepare for the lactation process so that your baby receives the right amount of nutrition. Just as preparing for childbirth helps you through that process, preparation for breastfeeding will help you wade through the difficulties of this one as well.
We advise mothers to read up on the many manuals written for a soon-to-be mum, planning to breastfeed. How much milk does your baby need? Is he/she getting sufficient amounts? What to do if not? All these queries can be answered by reading a good book, or looking online, however, if you require more help you can always visit a lactation consultant who will guide you on the many aspects of breastfeeding that trouble you. All local authorities have specialist breastfeeding clinics which your doctor or midwife will be able to tell you about, or ask at your next check-up. La Leche League is the pre-eminent organization for the promotion of breastfeeding and they will provide you with individual support, information, and they also host local support groups, which is a great way to meet other new mums.
In summary, there are many aspects of childbirth that won’t be opened or discussed by your midwife, you will have to search them out for yourself. We don’t mean to demean the role of your doctor or midwife in your pregnancy. In fact, they have a critical role in keeping you and your child healthy. However, there are certain things that you do to help yourself, which we have discussed here. Childbirth is a beautiful, but strenuous process. Hopefully, the things we have highlighted here will help you get through it in the easiest way possible.