Childbirth Preparation

The pregnancy quiz has been completed and the tests have confirmed a pregnancy. Bravo! There's no question - having a baby is a life-changing experience for the pregnant woman, father-to-be and members on both sides of the family. In all of the excitement of planning for the new arrival, expectant parents can be overwhelmed at the number of decisions and choices before them, causing emotions to run high.

Are You Covered?

Usually, the first item on the list is healthcare, ensuring proper prenatal care is ongoing throughout the pregnancy and even before. It is during prenatal checkups that couples can ask their pregnancy questions, receive counseling regarding birthing methods and help in dealing with the variety of issues that crop up during pregnancy and before. Perhaps there is a weight loss issue that needs to be addressed in order to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy. Smoking can affect both parents when it comes to conception, and especially once conception takes place. Doctors can assist and encourage a pregnant woman about such issues, offering help with stress management instead of using cigarettes. They are there to treat ailments; sleep issues like insomnia, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea.  They also explain the pregnancy stages and what to expect during each trimester.

How Will This Baby Be Delivered?

Part of the preparation for childbirth includes the type of delivery a woman wants to experience. Childbirth classes help a couple connect and grow together during the experience. Together they decide on whether to have a home birth with a midwife in attendance, or to have their baby in a birthing center without the use of drugs - a natural childbirth. Perhaps they will be using the Bradley method, where the husband or partner is prepared, educated and encouraged to be a loving and supportive coach through labor and delivery for the mother. By using Lamaze (breathing techniques), a couple works together to give birth to their baby. Water birthing is another method that uses the mind-body awareness techniques coupled with relaxation techniques to ease the newborn into the world calmly and naturally. Yet another type of birthing style has come into its own today - hypnobirthing - using hypnosis to deal with labor and delivery pain while enjoying the experience of giving birth. There are many pregnancy DVDs and birth videos available through which couples can get some ideas of the type of birth they'd like to have.

Is A Caesarean Delivery Necessary?

Sometimes natural birth is not an option and a c-section is required to ensure the safety of both mother and baby. Often, in the case of a multiple birth, such as twins, a cesarean is necessary. Couples counseling with the physicians helps deal with the anxiety and enables couples to relax with the idea of c-sections. Choosing the type of anesthetic to be used is also part of the counseling process. An epidural may be used that will enable the woman to remain awake during the surgery. Community hospitals and medical centers often provide help with a birth plan as well as workshops and counseling for postnatal concerns. Often women struggle a little at the outset of their breastfeeding experience. Lactation counseling is usually available at the medical center or community hospital to help women overcome the difficulties and enjoy the experience of nurturing their newborn at the breast.  Phobias about inadequacy, not having enough milk, and starving their babies are all issues that can find resolution in counseling situations.

What About Serious Health Issues In The Mother?

Women dealing with serious health issues, such as cancer, will have the added benefit of having someone from an oncology,  breast center unit as part of the birthing team of doctors. Doctors who specialize in neurology will assist women who have nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and lupus. If there are any cardiac issues or dangers, then a doctor specializing in cardiology becomes part of the team. There is great benefit in having specialists involved in the pregnancy and birthing team to ensure both baby and mother have a good chance for a successful experience. In some cases, women go into their pregnancy with diseases or dysfunction in their immune system that leaves them with unexplained chronic pain, as happens with irritable bowel syndrome and a chronic progressive disease called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). All of these situations require the help of doctors who specialize, many of them working in pain centers. Thankfully, in today's modern medical community, a pregnant woman has a lot of options and opportunities to take advantage of the skill and training available to ensure as healthy a pregnancy and delivery as possible. Along these lines, surgeries will have to be postponed until well after baby is born and in some cases, after the mother has stopped nursing. For instance, lasik surgery, used to improve vision, is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

Postpartum Issues

While many women develop self-esteem issues during their pregnancies as their bodies change and they feel clumbsy and fat, some women experience depression associated with the aftermath of birth. Postpartum fears can lead to serious mental and emotional problems that may need the help of a psychologist. During sessions of psychotherapy the doctor may use CBT which is a type of cognitive therapy, to help solve the problems arising from dysfunctional emotions and behaviors by using a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. This type of professional help is also instrumental in cases where there has been a trauma during the pregnancy or birth.  At times, family therapy is necessary to help everyone deal with the fallout of postpartum issues.

Babies Born With Problems

There are some babies who are born with physical health issues that will require extreme medical care in order to live normally, or in some case, to live - period. Babies born with a club foot or another operable physical deformity may become a candidate for orthopedic surgery as soon as it can be safely done. Neurosurgery to deal with brain, spinal column, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve damage may be needed within hours or days of birth. Nobody likes to dwell on these kinds of eventualities, but the reality is that sometimes surgeries are necessary.

Having The Baby Is Just The Beginning

Getting through the pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding challenges is just the beginning, though. Someone once said that parenting isn't for cowards and those who have raised children will concur. Parenting classes are available to help parents deal with life after baby comes. Allergies 

may crop up very early in the baby's life, showing up in cramping or rashes after mom has eaten something that doesn't agree with baby. In some cases, an allergy may trigger another issue. Some research has linked ADHA and attention deficit to allergies. Then there are eco-issues that can cause allergic reactions and the family may want to become a green family. There are many green baby products available to keep baby safe from the negative effects of ecological irritants.

We're here to offer ideas, help, and information to help parents along the path of child birth preparation and the wonderful world of building a family.

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