Hey, you! Take a deep breath and count to ten. We get it, you’re stressed and scared, and we can’t blame you! But we can help you. Take a minute to read our simple and free top tips for childbirth and you’ll soon feel a whole lot calmer. You’re welcome.
If you are in early labor you may be sent home from the hospital. This is very common for first timers. While at home there are several things you can do to help speed the process along, such as walking, showering, drinking fluids, and listening to music.
Your chances of having a vaginal delivery as opposed to cesarean section as a first time mother are greatly increased if you wait until you are in active labor before you go to the hospital.
In active labor, the contractions are less than 5 minutes apart; lasting 45-60 seconds and the cervix is dilated 3 centimeters or more.
If you’re uncertain whether you are in early labor or active labor all your physician or midwife to discuss your labor symptoms.
Ignore all the painful labor stories your friends relayed. Every woman has a unique level of pain tolerance and every women has a unique child birth experience.
That being said, there are things you can do to mitigate the pain of labor. These things include walking, applying warm or cold compresses, using relaxation/breathing techniques, and guided meditation using calming imagery.
These different pain-relieving methods can also be a good opportunity to get first-time partners involved in supporting you in the childbirth process.
As the labor progresses your contractions may become too painful to be relieved by the comfort measures of the previous tip. At this point pain medications are commonly used. We advise you to speak to your physician or midwife about the different pain medications and the benefits of each on prior to labor.
Medication will ease the pain enough so that you can handle the discomfort. Most medications used in labor are short acting in order to minimize the effect on the baby.
If the relief provided by the painkillers is inadequate your doctor may prescribe local anesthesia. This anesthesia walks the line of diminishing the pain so that you can bear it but still keeping your body alert enough to actively participate in pushing the baby out.
Its very important that you wait until you feel the natural urge to push before you begin pushing. If you receive epidural anesthesia you may have difficulty pushing particularly if it dulls the natural urge to bear down. The practice of delayed pushing, which involves waiting for the baby to passively come through birth canal, is currently an alternative for women using epidurals. Upright positioning like sitting, squatting, or standing allows gravity to help you push. Ask your doctor about perineal massage, which has been associated with fewer perineal tears. Your obstetrician or midwife may opt to shorten the second stage of labor if he or she is concerned about your or your baby’s health, by using a vacuum or forceps on the baby’s head. If this freaks you out, talk to your doctor before labor about this possibility.
What Comes After
Now comes a 90-minute recovery period during which your body is adjusting and relaxing. During this period, your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure, among other things, will be checked frequently and your baby will probably self-attach for breastfeeding and become acquainted with you through his/her sense of sight, touch, and smell.
While pregnant be sure to purchase and install an approved car seat because soon it will be time for you to go home and you must place your baby in the car seat, beginning with the ride home from the hospital.
Good job on childbirth, champ! Now check out our articles on parenting and motherhood and keep it up!