Child Birth FAQ
Where should I deliver my baby?
There are many options for you, but it’s important to remember that one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Home births, hospital births, and birthing centers are your normal choices. However, sometimes the baby chooses when and where. Learn more about your childbirth options.
Who can deliver my baby?
Obstetricians and family practitioners are usually the main doctors who deliver babies, considering they specialize in the field. However, certified nurses can also perform the task if that’s who you choose. Midwives and doulas are also beneficial as they can help you understand the changes occurring with you and your baby during your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and after birth.
What are my options for child birth?
Vaginal births and Cesarean births are the most popular methods for child birth. However, it’s not uncommon for water births to take place. It really depends on you and your health, as well as your baby’s health. Sometimes your doctor will perform the task to ensure the well being of you and your baby, regardless of which method you think is best.
What’s a VBAC?
Vaginal Birth After previous Cesarean; it’s an option for many women who choose to give birth vaginally after previously giving birth via c-section. Most women are candidates, even if they had two previous c-sections. Risks are involved, such as a uterine rupture, but risks are considered very low. In fact, only 1-2% of cases report uterine ruptures.
How early in my pregnancy should I pack a bag for the hospital?
It’s never too early to prepare for your big day. In fact, early is good, that way you can add to it or subtract from it as time goes on. Besides packing for you and your baby, it’s important to pack for the other parent, siblings, grandparents and/or anyone else who’s going to be present during that time. Want ideas on what to pack? Learn more here.
I’m carrying twins, will it be more painful to deliver?
That depends on the method that your doctor chooses to deliver them. Most multiple births are done by cesarean, and medication is given to you to help with the pain. However, if it’s allowed, a natural child birth done vaginally can very well be twice as painful.
What types of Birth Control are out there?
There are many different ways to prevent pregnancy such as condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, spermacides, pills, patches, vaginal rings, injections and sterilization. Talk with your partner and doctor to decide which method would be best for you.
I lost my insurance during my pregnancy and my due date is approaching. What are my options?
There are many governmental programs and discount programs such as Medicaid, WIC and Maternity Advantage. As soon as you know your insurance has been lost, immediately contact one of these programs to help with the financial burden. Also, it’s important to note that no doctor, especially one you’ve been seeing on a regular basis during your pregnancy will turn you down, especially if you go into labor. Learn about the various health insurance options here.
Should I have a birth plan?
Having a birth plan is a great idea. It can help you be prepared to answer the many questions you will be asked in the hospital, such as “Who is allowed in the delivery room?” and “Who cuts the cord?” Be sure to share your plan with your practitioner and partner. Remember, anything can happen during delivery, so do not be disappointed if you cannot stick to your plan.
How do I know if I am in labor?
Early signs of labor can precede real labor by a month or by only an hour. These may include sensations of increasing pressure in the pelvis and rectum, a change in vaginal discharge, loss of the mucous plug, pink (or bloody) show, rupture of membranes, Braxton Hicks contractions (a tightening sensation in the uterus), and diarrhea.
What are false labor symptoms?
Real labor has probably not begun if your contractions are not regular and do not increase in frequency or severity; if your contractions subside when you walk or change position; and if bloody show is brownish rather than pink or red. Fetal movements may intensify briefly with false labor; however, if they are frantic or jerky, then contact your doctor immediately. Learn more about the stages of labor.
If I think I’m in labor but I’m not 100% sure, when should I call my practitioner?
Err on the side of caution and call. Early contractions generally feel like gastrointestinal upset or like strong menstrual cramps. You may feel pain in the lower abdomen or in the lower back and abdomen. The pain may radiate to the legs, especially the upper thighs. True contractions become progressively more frequent and painful. If your water breaks, call your doctor even if you have no contractions.
Did I lose control of my bladder, or did my water break?
Amniotic fluid differs from urine in a few ways. Amniotic fluid has a sweet smell, urine smells more like ammonia. Amniotic fluid is pale to straw-colored, and the leakage continues even when you try to stop the flow by squeezing your pelvic muscles (Kegel exercises). If the flow stops, it’s urine.
Why would my doctor want to induce labor if I’m not overdue?
A common reason for labor induction is when the baby is overdue. However, your doctor may recommend induction if your membranes have ruptured and contractions have not started within 24 hours, if your uterus is no longer healthy for your baby, if the baby isn’t thriving, or if you have a complication.
Why can’t I eat or drink during labor?
If your practitioner has restricted all foot and beverages during labor, he or she wants to prevent any complication in the event of an emergency requiring general anesthesia. Any food in the digestive tract can be aspirated while you are sedated. However, some practitioners do allow juice and crackers.
Will I need an IV in the hospital?
It depends on the hospital and your situation. Some hospitals routinely place an intravenous catheter into a vein in the back of your hand to drip fluids and medication. For example, an IV is necessary if you plan on having an epidural or if you require prophylactic antibiotics for group B Streptococcus.
What non-medical measures can be done to relieve the pain of back labor?
Back labor occurs when the back of the baby’s head presses on your sacrum. If you would like to remain med-free (no epidural or narcotics), then you can try changing positions, applying a warm compress or ice pack, or having your coach massage the area or apply counter pressure. Other options include reflexology, hydrotherapy, self-hypnosis, and acupuncture.
Are some labor positions better than others?
Whatever position works for you is the best. Expectant moms can choose from a variety of positions, from side lying to sitting on a birthing ball, to relieve the pain of contractions. Remaining upright and standing and walking takes advantage of gravity and may help get things moving faster.
How does vacuum extraction work?
Vacuum extraction is a good alternative to forceps and cesarean deliveries. A plastic cup is placed on the baby’s head and gentle suction applied to guide the baby out of the birth canal. Vacuum extraction causes minimal trauma to the vagina. The baby will have some temporary swelling of the scalp.
Are episiotomies still done, and if so when might one be necessary?
Although episiotomies (a surgical cut in your perineum) are no longer routine, they are done in certain instances. One may be indicated when the baby is large, the baby has to be delivered rapidly, a forceps or vacuum delivery is necessary, or the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal.
Will there be much blood during the delivery?
You’ll be happy to learn that there is not much blood during childbirth. The amount of blood is similar to that of a period. Odds are you’ll see very little blood, if any, because you will be more focused on your contractions and pushing.
Should I save my baby’s umbilical cord blood?
Cord blood banking is a personal decision you must make with your partner. Harvesting the cord blood is done after the cord has been clamped and cut and is painless. The newborn’s blood contains stems cells that may be used to treat certain immune system disorders or blood diseases. The cost of private cord blood storage, while expensive, might be worth it if you have a family history of immune disease.
What can I expect after birth?
It is normal to have bleeding and some cramping after birth. Some women experience perineal pain and delivery bruises. Urinating can be difficult during the first 24 hours after birth. Postpartum constipation is common. Many moms have engorged breasts until a breastfeeding is well established.
Why is breastfeeding considered the best for baby?
Exclusive breastfeeding for the baby’s first 6 months of life is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Breast milk is safe and tailored to meet the nutritional needs of infants. It has many benefits for baby: it can increase IQ and prevent allergies, obesity, and infection. It’s less expensive than formula and comes with the added benefit for mom – the speedy return to pre-pregnancy weight.