Preparing For Delivery
Preparing a plan for your labour and delivery in advance allows you to think through your alternatives with a clear and rational mind. Take the time to discuss the issues with your partner, and if possible your doctor and midwives before you make your plan.
When you do go into labour a birth plan provides a clear idea of what your expectations are for your partner and the attendants at the birth of your baby. Just remember when you prepare this document that it is only a plan and you may wish to adjust it once you begin to experience your labour. Your partner should understand this as well, you don't want to come to blows when he tells you that you can't have an epidural because it's not on your birth plan.
It is a good idea to establish clear guidelines with your partner about changing your plan. For example, initially you may decide that you do not want to have any pain relief, but after 8 hours of labour you might wish to change your mind. Set a time period after you first ask for the pain relief, say 10 minutes, before you actually go ahead as you may find you can continue to cope.
Your carers at your birth are experienced and you should also listen to them for guidance.
There are alot of ways to keep yourself comfortable during labour. Here are some tips and tricks to help you through labour and delivery.
1. Learn some breathing exercises, they do actually help. Being relaxed is the most important key to an easy labour.
2. Do not invite anyone into your labour room who will aggravate you or frustrate you. Even if this is your mother, she can see the baby afterward, you need to be relaxed.
3. Bring any paraphernalia that relaxes you with you to the hospital, a picture, a cassette tape or cd, massage tools (even your masseuse if you can convince him to come!!)
4. Having a doula can be very helpful, they are trained in all the areas surrounding labour and delivery and are well versed in what to say and do for women in labour.
5. Having a birth plan is good but try to remember that not everything goes according to plan during labour and you may need to make a few adjustments. Be open to go with the flow in case thats necessary. And dont feel discouraged or upset if it doesnt go according to plan. There will be many times during your life as a parent where things will not go according to plan, this is a good time to start learning to accept alternatives.
If you can try to relax and tell yourself that there will be discomfort but that you need not be afraid of it because it is what is bringing your closer and closer to having your baby you will find that your labour and delivery will go alot more smoothly.
The worst thing for labour is fear. But unfortunately its natural to be a bit afraid. Here is a list of common fears and concerns about labour and delivery.
One common fear that women have about labour is the pain and losing control. The fact is that labour and delivery can be quite painful and yes you may feel like you are losing control of you emotions. You may scream out or yell at your partner, you may even yell at your nurse or doctor. However, the beauty of it all is that even though the thought of that sounds terrible now, at the time, you won't give a damn about what anyone else thinks, nor will you care too much after the fact. Its very common for a mother to become quite irrational and irritable during labour, its a tough job! But dont worry to much if you do lose control, the people around you will understand.
Another common fear about labour and delivery is having a bowel movement while pushing. Your nurses and doctors are experts at quickly swiping anything away into the garbage that will sit right under you. But most importantly, when you are in the process of delivering your baby, you wont care either!
Tearing is a common concern as well. Tearing naturally is thought to be much better than an episiotomy (cutting the dermis below the vagina opening to allow room for baby's head and body). Most doctors will not perform an episiotomy nowadays and will likely let your body naturally tear where it will. There are ways of preparing your body for delivery so that you do not tear as badly or some may not even tear at all. Most doctors will recomend a perineum massage every day or a few times a day leading up from the weeks to labour. You can do this yourself or have your partner do it for you. With some oil, you want to massage the area between your vagina and your anus. This may help to relax the skin in the area allowing it to stretch further and reduce tearing. Your doctor will stitch up any tearing that does occur and you will likely look and feel very much the same as you did before birth after a month or two.
That brings us to another fear about labour and delivery. Will I be the same 'down there' after I have a baby. Basically, the tearing may cause some cosmetic damage and very rarely women may experience some pelvic floor and pelvic muscle damage but for the most part, our bodies are great at bouncing back within a few months.
Something that you may want to pay close attention to though is, Kegels. If your baby is quite big or if it comes out a strange way (some like to come out with thier arms up etc), or it they need to use forceps etc to get him out, you are at a bigger risk for damage to your pelvic floor. This can cause incontinence and other unpleasantries. If you do your kegels however, there is a much better chance of you avoiding these problems or at least bouncing back a lot quicker. Kegels really are important. Do them as much as you can. To do a Kegel is easy, you can do them anywhere. All you have to do is sit, relax and tighten the muscles in your vaginal wall. Hold each on for 5-10 seconds and release. The better you get at it, the longer you can hold them. Do them, you wont regret it!
Basically though, having a baby is not something to be taken lightly but it can be done and done well with the proper tools and the right attitude. Having a baby will be one of the hardest, physically painful, emotionally draining experiences you will probably ever have but when its all over, you are handed the greatest trophy ever given, your baby!