The Labor and Birth Experience
At Pregnancy-Info we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date and pertinent information possible in order to help you make informed decisions and learn more about all facets of preparation for the birth of your baby. Do you have questions about labor and giving birth: what kinds of medications are available; home birth or hospital birth; c-sections and all they entail? We're here to answer your questions and keep you informed so your labor and delivery are safe.
Planning for the Birth
You probably planned for your conception, but have you planned for your birth? Birthing plans are a great aid when the concept of giving birth feels overwhelming. Often, writing your birth plan helps to keep you focused on what is really important during this incredible time of your lives. In this section, we'll answer some of your questions about childbirth and suggest child birth options that are available to you. Learn about baby friendly hospitals and the differences between hospital births and birthing centers. If you're considering a home birth, you will want to be sure to have a backup plan in place. If you know ahead of time that you will be having a cesarean birth, it is still a good idea to plan your c-section. By working with your medical practitioner you can determine your birth preferences and medication plan to make the experience more of what you want and less of what you don't want.
Many women find that keeping a pregnancy journal helps them to deal with anxieties and concerns they may have. Childbirth classes are a great way to take away the mystery and give you and your partner confidence going into the labor phase of birthing your baby. Learn about the various types of birth methods, such as:
· Leboyer Method
· Water Births
· Birthing Chairs
These days you get to choose so much of what will happen during your own experience.
When you've written your birth plan, go over it with your doctor. The hospital or birthing center will work with you as best they are able and although they may not be able to fulfill everything you plan for, they will certainly do as much as possible.
Perhaps this is the second time around for you (or the third). You can still write a second pregnancy plan and perhaps include the baby's sibling to witness the birth. After the birth, your child can watch the cord clamping and be an active part in the arrival of his or her sister or brother.
What to Expect During Labor
Labor can be a scary word for many women. The biggest question will likely be, "Am I in labor?" Check out the labor guide and the article about the stages of labor to learn more about what to expect. There are various signs of labor that are unmistakable and will help you know when it is time to get to the hospital. We also have a labor guide for Dads, so they know what's going on as well. The funny thing is that even before you go into labor, you will likely find yourself nesting. Pregnancy nesting is normal and an indication that you are getting close to labor and delivery.
The actual birth of the baby may be dependent upon the birth presentation. In the article What is a Breech Birth, you'll learn about the various types of breech positions and how they can be rectified and delivered. To avoid birth injuries, the doctor may decide it is better to take the baby by cesarean rather than allow a natural labor and birth.
Most mothers want to have a natural labor, however, that isn't always possible. Sometimes it is necessary to induce labor. Find out how and why induction is done in this section. Learn about medically inducing labor, the medications given for labor, both to induce and to help relieve the pain of labor. You can manage childbirth pain without medications as well. We give you some great labor tips to help you cope with labor pain. You can encourage natural labor - we'll teach you how in the article in this section. If you have decided on medication for labor and birth, learn about the various types of medications that are available by reading about spinal anesthesia and epidurals.
Delivering the Baby
Although labor is the longest part of the experience, it isn't the end of the story. The birth is what you have labored for, and you will discover what you can expect in this second phase of birthing your baby by checking out the many articles in this section covering the delivery and birth of your baby.
You won't know if you need an episiotomy until the baby's head and shoulder have appeared. There is a big difference between tearing and cutting, and you'll want to avoid tearing if at all possible. After birth, the doctor will wait for the placenta and check it to be sure all is well. Find out all about the placenta, and learn about the various tests your baby will be subjected to in those first minutes of life outside of the womb. Apgar testing, screening newborns, determining the birth weight and your baby's health status are all part and parcel of the post-delivery routine.
Do You Need a Cesarean Section?
Perhaps you will have your baby by cesarean section. There are many aspects to cesareans that you will want to learn about in order to be well prepared for the experience. Discover more about the procedure, the possible complications and recovery from cesarean deliveries. There are cesarean risks, as is common for surgeries of this nature. If you do have a cesarean, you may wonder if the cesarean will affect future pregnancies and if you'll be able to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean. The answers to these questions can be found in the articles in this section.
Working with a Midwife
Regardless whether you choose a birthing center or home birth, you may have already made up your mind to have a doula or midwife as part of your pregnancy and birthing experience. In the section on midwives, you will learn how they are involved in the various aspects of your pregnancy. Your midwife is an important part of your birth planning and your prenatal care. She can advise you on questions you may have about labor, natural birth, c-section, home birth and alternative medicine ways of handling various aspects of pregnancy, labor and birth.
Finding a doula or a midwife can take time, but once you have made your choice, you will form a close and warm bond with each other. Your midwife can step in as a primary care giver, especially if she is a nurse practitioner or graduate of a nursing program. She will have the skills to talk to you about gynecological issues, and discuss fetal development every step of the way.
We know you will find this entire section filled useful and informative articles about labor and birth. Many of your questions can be answered here and hopefully, some of your concerns assuaged. Read on for more.