It’s not an easy thing to talk about, let alone something we want to mull over on our own—childbirth problems. We often live under the deeply ingrained impression that bad things can only happen to other people. It’s uncomfortable to accept risk, especially with one of the most meaningful and precious moments in your life. However, the more proactive and prepared you are now, the less you will worry later. By educating yourself and talking with your doctors about the complications that can occur during birth, you can rest assured that you’re ready for every possibility.
Failure To Progress
When you give birth, the process begins with the all-important labor. This signal alerts you to your child’s imminent entry into our world. However, labor takes time. If you have a failure to progress, this means that you have prolonged labor of 20 or more hours accompanied by a slow dilation. There are many reasons for this extra time, including your baby’s size and your physical state. When mothers fail to progress, it’s best to take a short walk, try to sleep, or draw a bath. Each of these activities helps your muscles to relax and dilate more quickly.
Low Birth Weight
You begin feeding your child at the moment of conception, and it’s critical to handle your baby’s nutrition throughout your pregnancy. If you don’t nourish your body during each trimester, your child could have a low birth weight. Ask your doctor to monitor your baby’s size and actively care for your health, too, in order to avoid this complication.
Your baby’s positioning as they exit the womb is essential to a seamless delivery. If you have the first step down—rotating the baby, so it’s head-first—you can still have issues with their shoulders. Shoulder dystocia refers to this situation where your baby’s head is free, but their shoulders are stuck inside. The solution for this may be uncomfortable for you as the mother, but it will likely involve changing your delivery position and even having doctors manually turn the baby. If the shoulders become too much of a problem, your OB may perform a cesarean to deliver your child safely.
Umbilical Cord Problems
Your umbilical cord is the lifeline between you and your baby. During delivery, you want the umbilical cord to emerge with your child, not before. If the umbilical cord exits early or wraps around your child’s body, your doctor must address this quickly before complications arise.
Talk about the complications that can occur during birth today to find peace tomorrow. Most births transpire without a hitch, but you should prepare yourself for even the smallest hiccups. Consider learning more about the various kinds of birth injuriesand be ready to handle all of your newborn’s needs.
As a disclaimer, this advice is purely informational, and you should consult your doctor for all medical recommendations and birth-related treatment.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.
Since the first quarter of this year, millions of parents have been faced with the challenge of giving birth in the middle of a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was first identified in December 2019 and is still ongoing. The coronavirus disease can be mild or extreme and if you’re pregnant, you should be extra cautious. You want to avoid anything that can be harmful to you and to the baby in your womb. Do you feel prepared to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic?
When thinking of random concerns and imagining probable scenarios during a pregnancy, one doesn’t expect to give birth during a pandemic. In fact, it probably never crossed your mind if you were pregnant before the pandemic started. However, the reality of the situation is that COVID-19 is everywhere and you will have to bring your little one into this world with a few more challenges than normal.
Make it a point to be in constant communication with your healthcare provider. Don’t hesitate to message them for any concerns and queries. Practices and protocols vary from hospital to hospital so researching on your own may lead to inaccurate information. It’s better to get your answers from the source. Feel free to ask about their current safety measures and restrictions for the delivery. If you have any worries, share it with them as well. They will be able to handle and explain things properly for your peace of mind. Thankfully, you are not the only woman who needs to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the trained medical staff should already have a plan in mind.
Limit Clinic Visits
The best way to protect yourself from the disease is by staying at home. You may schedule online consultations with your doctor to avoid having to go to their clinics. The likelihood that they offer these services is high since it’s in everyone’s best interest to protect you and the baby. Almost everyone is doing virtual consultations nowadays unless it’s an emergency case.
Only visit the clinic if you are required to be there physically. For prenatal care and tests, such as an abdominal ultrasound and other lab tests, try to coordinate with your healthcare provider if you can do them all in one visit as opposed to having a separate appointment for each one.
According to the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG), if you get Covid-19 while pregnant, “a high fever around 6 weeks of pregnancy or 4 weeks after the baby is conceived may be linked with a higher risk of problems with the spine and the brain. This is not specific to COVID-19 but comes with any reason for having a fever. The risk remains very low. Around 2 women for every 1000 women with a fever in early pregnancy may have a baby with that kind of problem compared to 1 woman for every 1000 pregnant women who did not have a fever early in pregnancy. An ultrasound examination at 18 to 22 weeks is recommended to check for these kinds of problems.”
After an infection, an ultrasound after 2 to 4 weeks is recommended to ensure that the baby is growing well. They also recommend regular ultrasound exams at least every 4 weeks throughout the pregnancy to check on the growth of the baby.
Limit News Consumption
Having access to a current stream of news could have negative effects. In addition to social and physical isolation, the news you hear could impact the state of your mental health. Ask someone to filter them for you, especially reports regarding Covid-19. Make sure that you get your information from credible and reliable sources only.
Pack Ahead of Time
As mentioned above, protocols differ for each institution and your companion may not be allowed to leave the delivery ward. The best thing to do is prepare your hospital bag ahead of time. Make sure everything you will be needing for the whole stay is packed. Aside from the essentials like clothes and toiletries, bring with you items that will improve your comfort such as an extra pillow or your favorite blanket. You’ll know when you’ve packed everything you need when you’re ready to leave anytime. By packing ahead, you won’t be stressing about anything else when it’s time to go to the hospital.
Know What to Expect
There may be additional safety steps for everyone’s safety when you deliver the baby. It’s important to know these things and be flexible with your birth plan. Compromise will be needed for a safe delivery. You and everyone in the room may need to wear a mask during delivery.
Visitors will not be allowed as well and you will need to update your loved ones virtually. Technology comes to the rescue during these times. Introduce your little one to family and friends through a video call.
It’s perfectly normal to feel disappointment at the current situation. You are allowed to feel sad that things are not going as planned or expected due to the pandemic. After taking a moment for yourself to accept disappointment, put your energy into preparing for the unseen factors. It’s okay to grieve as long as you get back up and face the situation with a brand new perspective and attitude. While it may be disappointing to give birth during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting to meet your baby will be worth it.
Amelia is part of the content team at The Long Reach and works for various international brands. When Amelia is not researching and writing she loves nothing more than heading out into the country for some downtime.
Ever considered using a doula to help you through labor and delivery?
There are so many benefits of doulas, and it’s not just for moral support. Science has proven that having the support of a doula through labor, delivery and in the postpartum period can lead to better health for mom and baby. For most women, the process of giving birth can be extremely frightening and stressful and a doula can ease some of that stress. Having someone in your corner that will put your needs first is something all moms can benefit from.
Let’s be truthful here, giving birth is no easy task. It’s called labor for a reason. First-time mothers experience it on even another level due to the fear of the unknown. To the dismay of many moms-to-be, the medical community took a natural process and made it into a sterile procedure to be feared. The birthing mom was isolated in a stark, cold room to give birth in an unnatural position, separated from loved ones, and without support. Fortunately, the medical community has finally begun to come around to what works for a new mom and her baby.
The scientific community began to realize that perhaps the ways of modern medicine did not work well for the most natural process on our planet, and that is giving birth. After many compelling studies, scientists discovered that stress-free labor had many benefits to both the mother and infant. They found thatdoulas played a significant role in providing a stress-free environment, aiding in an uncomplicated birth.
Mothers who received doula support during labor and the birthing process experienced less pain as well as a shorter labor duration. This was a result of the confidence they felt in their abilities, knowing that they had the full emotional and physical support of a doula by their side. In addition to this, they also had fewer incidents of cesareans, epidurals, and the use of invasive birthing instruments.
A mother who experiences stress-free labor without invasive intervention due to the support of a doula will also have a stronger bonding connection with her newborn. Both mother and child come together in the world for the first time in a positive atmosphere. Studies have not only shown that this type of birth increases positive mother-infant interaction but also boosts early breastfeeding scores.
Scientific studies have forced the medical community to realize that there are so many benefits of doulas for a laboring mother that it can no longer be ignored.
Here are 17 evidence-based benefits, including infants with higher Apgar scores, reduced postpartum depression, and fewer birth complications.
Neve is a pragmatic and encouraging natural birth advocate. She loves science and hates dogma, and she tries hard to empower women with information while steering clear of criticism and judgment. A mother of three, Neve is also chief researcher and editor at WeTheParents. You can catch her on Twitter and Facebook.
While it’s great that science is able to prove the benefits of doulas, it’s also just plain common sense. Even if you have a supportive spouse or friend with you, it doesn’t often compare to the experience of a trained doula. Having someone who is completely devoted to your care and well being during one of the most intense moments of your life is a luxury that all mothers should have access to.
Have you used a doula for your labor and delivery? We’d love to hear more about your experience. Feel free to contact us or leave a comment!
Each of my three children was born in less than 3 hours from the start of the first contraction. It’s called a precipitous labor and it only occurs in 3% of births. It might seem like a small number but it’s hard to predict who will have one, and if you’re unprepared for it, it can lead to a very traumatic experience.
Here’s what you should know about the trauma of a precipitous labor.
The Physical Trauma
While precipitous births are generally good for the baby, they can be extremely traumatizing for moms. Labor itself tends to begin without warning and goes from a 0 to 10 in a matter of minutes. The phases of labor that we learn about in preparation for giving birth are early labor, active labor and transition.
Women who experience a precipitous labor either do not feel their early labor at all or have an extremely short early labor stage.
In my case, I simply did not feel my early labor contractions. I know this to be a fact because when my water broke with my first child, I went to the hospital assuming I would need to be induced, since contractions had not started. It was there that they told me I was already 5 cm dilated and having contractions every 5 minutes but I did not feel a single one.
Due to the nearly non-existent early labor stage, most women having a precipitous labor won’t feel the first contraction until they enter the transition phase. Instead of slowly adjusting to a gradual increase in pain, they are completely blindsided by the pain. During transition, the contractions can be very close together, making it difficult to catch your breath in between in order to prepare for the next one.
But the worst trauma of all when dealing with a precipitous labor, is the impossibility of trying NOT to push while the baby’s head is crowning and so desperately wants out! Often, doctors and midwives are surprised by precipitous labors, considering how rare they are (especially among first time moms). Many times, the labor and delivery staff are unprepared or waiting for the doctor to get there. They will tell you to blow out through your mouth in an effort to halt labor, but anyone who has given birth knows this is a futile attempt. Doing this can cause damage to the birth canal or pelvic floor muscles and can lead to infections, bleeding and tearing.
So instead of experiencing the immediate relief that comes with finally delivering a baby, you’re forced to wait in an unnecessary amount of pain, because no one believed you when you said you felt like pushing.
The Psychological Trauma
I can almost guarantee you that when you have a precipitous labor – no one will believe you. It’s extremely frustrating to be made to feel like you are overreacting. Since precipitous labors are quite rare, it’s understandable that no one would assume you’re having one until it’s too late. But as a women in labor, especially if it’s your first time, it can be frightening and isolating to go through this alone.
If you’re concerned about having to advocate for yourself during a precipitous labor, consider hiring a doula. The job of a doula is to empower and support a laboring mother. So when you say you’re in pain, or feel the urge to push, a doula will believe you if no one else will.
Often, women who have a precipitous labor are left feeling like they had no voice and no control during their labor. In the long run, these feelings can have a dire effect on a new mother’s mental health.
Immediately following labor
After the 2 hour and 43 minute delivery of my first child, to say that I was traumatized would be an understatement. Immediately after birth, I experienced a surge of adrenaline that caused my entire body to tremor and shake so badly that I couldn’t even hold my new baby.
Being in a state of shock following a precipitous labor is completely understandable. Your body and mind have not had time to adjust to the incredible miracle that it’s just performed. You may also feel a sense of sadness or loss for the labor experience that you imagined you would have. If you created a birth plan, chances are that your precipitous labor threw all that right out the window.
It’s hard to predict how much a precipitous labor will affect your mental health until long afterwards. Many women who suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety find that it began with their precipitous labor. This may not always be evident however, and it’s only after discussing things with a therapist that they see it to be true.
In general, consecutive labors tend to be faster than the first – which is scary when your first was less than 3 hours. My second child was born in 2 hours and 4 minutes from the start of the first contraction and baby number three made her appearance in 1 hour and 34 minutes.
Women who were overly traumatized following their precipitous labor may feel less inclined to have another child altogether. And those who do often take additional and sometimes extreme steps to ensure they have a better experience. Some may opt for a home birth, to be induced or choose an elective c-section. They may become extremely anxious as their due date nears and make several trips to the doctor with false alarms.
What’s important to do, as a woman expecting a precipitous labor, is to demand the care and attention you need. Find a doctor who understands your condition and come up with a game plan together (including a back-up plan). Hire a doula or have a backup list of support people. Keep close to home or where you plan to deliver. Being prepared for a precipitous labor is an advantage with subsequent pregnancies that you don’t get the first time.
I personally dislike being told that I am “lucky” to have had such short labors. I am thankful that my children were born healthy and without complications. I am grateful that I was able to deliver them naturally, without drugs as I had planned. I believe all women who give birth, whether they labor for days on end, or only for a matter of minutes, whether they’ve had c-sections, epidurals or water births – deserve all the credit that is due to them. Giving birth in itself is a blessing – no matter how you do it.