My Baby and I

Pregnancy, Birth, Baby and Toddler

Natural Induction of Labour

June 8, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

I am now at the stage in my pregnancy where I am feeling totally ready, both physically and mentally, for the baby’s arrival. I am getting increasingly tired, can’t walk too far, or do too much around the house, and to be honest the waiting is getting rather boring!

So I decided to take positive action to find out what I could be doing to encourage the baby to put in an appearance.

The following sums up my findings of natural ways to induce labour, although it seems that none of them are truly scientifically proven and may just be old wives tales. But I’m prepared to give anything a go and don’t believe any of them can do any harm, so here goes:

Preparing for Labour and Birth

May 24, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

Once you get into your final trimester of pregnancy and with your due date fast approaching, you will find that your attention begins to focus very much on the labour and birth of your baby. But rather than worrying about what lies ahead there is much you can do to prepare yourself, both physically and mentally, to help you stay positive about the experience.

Here are some of the things you can be doing to help you prepare:

Making Your Delivery Suite More Homely

May 22, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

hospital-roomThe idea of a home birth really appeals to me, but for a first child I think there are many benefits to having the baby in a hospital or maternity unit. I plan to stay in hospital for a few days after the birth to receive help with bathing and feeding and hopefully meet some other new mums.

However, a real downside to a hospital or maternity unit birth is that the delivery rooms can appear very clinical and cold. It is well known that women labour much better in a relaxing and familiar environment.

At a recent NCT class we discussed what one could do to the delivery suite to make it feel more comfortable and homely and less clinical. Here are the ideas we discussed:

Music for Labour and Birth

May 19, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

It is well known that women who are more relaxed during labour and birth have an easier time and find it a more rewarding experience than mothers who are scared and uptight.

One way that can help you relax is to have music playing during your labour and birth of your baby.

Here are some hints on choosing music for your labour and birth:

Make sure you find out what your birthing place has in terms of CD facilities when you tour the maternity unit. Some units have stereos fitted in the delivery suites but some don’t. If you need to take your own CD player ensure it has batteries as you may not be able to plug it in to the mains due to health and safety reasons. Alternatively, consider taking an MP3 player or iPod with headphones or speakers, but remember to pack extra batteries!

The Babyworld website provides some useful further information about music during labour.

Writing a Birth Plan

May 18, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

planWhat is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a written outline of a woman’s preferences for labour and birth. It is not a legal document - your midwife or health provider will try to adhere to your wishes wherever possible but certain medical situations may arise which may mean this is not possible. However, your health provider should always consult you before intervening or carrying out any medical procedures. You can change your mind about anything that is written on your birth plan at any time.

Why write a birth plan?

Writing a birth plan can help get straight in your mind your hopes for the birth and will help to prepare you for if things don’t quite go to plan. It also provides a good prompt for discussion about the birth with your birth partner(s), midwife, and anyone else you may wish to share it with. It gives the midwife/ health provider an idea of how you want the birth to go and will be particularly useful if there is a shift change during your labour or you have to be transferred to another hospital.

How do I write a birth plan?

During your pregnancy try to find out as much information as you can about labour and birth, from sources such as books, the Internet, and going to antenatal classes. The more information you have the better equipped you will be to write your birth plan.

Ideally you should have written your birth plan by around 35 or 36 weeks of pregnancy, so you have time to discuss it with your midwife, birth partner(s), and anyone else in plenty of time before the big day.

The plan needs to be written down but doesn’t have to be long (1 page is fine), and should include some of your hopes for the birth, anything you feel strongly about and a contingency plan if things don’t go the way you hope. It is up to you what format you choose to write it in. It could be handwritten or typed, in paragraphs or bullet points; you could download a pro-forma from the Internet or ask your midwife or hospital if they have a form or prompt sheet for you to fill in.

I found it most useful to write mine in bullet points under some main headings. This should make it quick and easy for a midwife or carer to find information quickly and easily during the labour and birth. I started by brainstorming all my thoughts and ideas about anything relating to labour and birth, then grouped all my notes together into bullet points under the following headings:

Summary, birth partner, labour, pain relief, the birth, after the birth, induction and acceleration, interventions and caesarean.

The following websites provide a good source of further information about writing a birth plan.

Do I Need to Attend Antenatal Classes?

May 16, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comment (1)

You wouldn’t book a holiday without first looking through the brochure or finding out about the destination, and you wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon without proper preparation and training. It should be the same for child birth.

It has been shown that women and parents-to-be that take an active role in learning about labour and birth feel more in control, are more likely to have a birth that goes according to their wishes and less likely to need intervention.

Antenatal classes provide many benefits to expecting parents, such as:

Your main options for antenatal classes are:

It is most common to attend antenatal classes sometime during the last two months of pregnancy. However, it is wise to enquire about the classes as early in your pregnancy as possible as many of them get booked up very quickly.

Birthing Partners and Doulas

May 12, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

Up until recent years it was generally only the husband who was allowed to be with his wife in the delivery suite for the birth of their baby and it was very uncommon for another person, other than trained medical staff, to be present.

These days, however, a birth partner is encouraged and some women decide to have two. It has been shown that labouring women can really benefit from having another female friend or relative present for emotional and moral support.

So while your husband or partner may be an obvious choice for a birth partner you may want to consider having someone else present too. A mother or a sister may be a choice for some, but doulas are becoming increasingly popular.

A doula is a person, usually a woman, who provides emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual support to a labouring mother. Birth doulas are trained and experienced in child birth. However, the doula does not support the mother in a medical role - that is for the midwife and other medical staff.

Doulas will usually visit the mother-to-be at least once prior to the birth and some offer post-natal support, helping the new family to settle in and perhaps to assist with cooking and light household duties.

You will usually have to pay for a doula and prices range from region to region and the type of doula you wish to have but you should expect to pay in the region of a few hundred pounds for a birthing doula.

I’d be interested to hear from any doulas or from anyone that has used a doula about their labour and birth experiences.

Visit to a Maternity Unit

May 11, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

If you intend to have your baby in hospital or midwifery-led unit I would highly recommend to any parents-to-be to go to look around the maternity unit at least a few weeks in advance of your due date.

A visit can help to confirm your wishes to give birth there, or following the visit you may decide to explore other units or the possibility of a home birth. You will be better able to plan what you need and want for the labour and birth and it will help you feel more at ease knowing what to expect.

You will usually have to telephone the maternity unit in advance to ask if you can look around, as it will depend whether the delivery rooms are in use and whether there will be a midwife available to show you around.

Try to think about all the things that you would like to find out in advance of the visit and remember that there is no such thing as a stupid question (just stupid answers!).

Information you may want to discuss and find out about include:

Birth Choice UK provides useful and detailed information about the choices you face when deciding where to have your baby.

Birthing Balls

May 8, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comments (0)

birthingballThe NCT (National Childbirth Trust) antenatal classes that my husband and I have been attending suggested we buy a birthing ball.

During the later stages of pregnancy a birthing ball can be used to help get your baby in a good position ready for labour and can help you maintain a comfortable posture. During labour the ball may be useful for sitting on and rocking to help get you through the contractions.

Birthing balls are very similar to gym balls, the main differences being the name and the price. Prices can vary greatly so it’s worth shopping around to try to get the best deal. When buying one you will need to think about your height as they come in different sizes.

45cm - for a height up to 5′0″
55cm - for a height of 5′0″ to 5′5″
65cm - for a height of 5′6″ to 5′10″
75cm - for heights over 5′10″

When buying one make sure it comes with an appropriate adaptor to use with a pump. The one we bought from Argos was good value for money but unfortunately it didn’t come with an adaptor so we had to resort to a makeshift one using a straw (which made the job of inflating it a lot more difficult!) Also make sure the ball you buy is ‘anti-burst’ and strong enough to take your weight.

For more info about using a birthing ball visit the Yoga Birth website.

Your Hospital Labour and Birth Essentials

May 3, 2007 - Tag: Labour and birth - Comment (1)

Hospital stays tend to be very short these days - most women stay in for less than 24 hours following a normal delivery. But there will be many items that you can take that will make your stay more comfortable and prevent your birthing partner rushing out to find a shop at a crucial moment!

Try to pack your hospital bag well in advance of your due date so you have peace of mind knowing that it is all organised and so you won’t have to worry about it during the onset of labour.

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