Labour & Delivery
Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the ending of a pregnancy by one or more babies leaving a woman's uterus by vaginal passage or Caesarean section
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How can you tell when your baby has dropped?
At first glance, the phrase “when your baby drops” is possibly alarming, especially to a woman expecting her first ever baby. Who’s going to drop your baby? How could that be a good thing? What can I do to stop this from happening? After all, once you reach the last month of pregnancy, people may ask you whether or not your baby has dropped. This article will answer all of the questions you have about your baby dropping, as well as how it affects your pregnancy and impending labor. What does baby dropping exactly mean? No one is predicting that your baby will fall out of you, nor that they will be dropped on the floor after they’re born. When your baby drops it means their head has come down into your pelvis, still safely tucked behind your cervix and inside the protective amniotic sack. When will my baby drop? This typically happens around 2 to 4 weeks before your baby will be born, although since due dates are so arbitrary, this can really mean any time after 36 weeks of pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy, your baby fills your uterus, and there isn’t much room for them to move around anymore. Your baby’s head moving into your pelvis is a good sign that your baby and your body are getting ready for labor, but don’t grab your hospital bag yet! Labor could still be weeks, even an entire month away from the time you feel your baby drops, so wait for more certain signs of labor before getting too excited. What does it feel like when baby drops? How can I tell? There are many symptoms that can accompany your baby dropping. It won’t be a sudden thing, most likely, but more gradual over the course of a few weeks or days as your baby slips further into your pelvis to get ready for labor. This process, also called “lightening”, aids in stretching your pelvic floor muscles so that when labor does begin your body is more prepared to guide your baby out with the gentle squeeze of your uterine muscle contractions. Content source Featured image source
Benefits of having a Normal Delivery
When one is pregnant, there are many questions that they undergo, one of them being what kind of delivery is better. There are two types of deliveries – one being normal delivery and the other being C – Section. Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of having a normal delivery Below are the benefits of a normal delivery- Babies come when they’re ready -If labor starts naturally, then you know that your child is fully developed and is ready to be born. The baby’s lungs and other major organs have finished maturing and your baby is able to survive without any medical interventions if born naturally. A baby delivered surgically could be at risk for prematurity, especially if there is a miscalculation in the due date. Babies born vaginally receive protective bacteria -One of the benefits of normal delivery is that when babies are born vaginally, they pick up the protective bacteria called microbiome from their moms as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria are helpful in building a strong immune system and help to protect the child from many illnesses. Lowered risk of respiratory problems -While passing through the vaginal canal, the compression of the baby’s thorax helps to expel the amniotic fluid. And with a natural delivery, there are various hormones that are released – these help to clear fluids from the baby’s lungs. Baby gets to breastfeed without much delay -In a normal delivery, the very first breastfeeding is not delayed much. Breastfeeding at the earliest has its own advantages. Plus the newborn’s urge to suck is the strongest in the first couple of hours after the birth and feeding section at the earliest helps the baby to latch properly. Better APGAR score -Babies born vaginally have a better APGAR score. As a C-section lacks natural stimulation and involves anesthesia, it can result in a lower APGAR score. Babies born via cesarean are 50% more likely to have lower APGAR scores than those born naturally. Apart from the benefits to the child, the mother also gains some advantages. Read below: Quick recovery -The recovery from a natural birth is almost immediate. Generally, a mother can stand up and care for herself and her baby without much assistance. Shorter hospital stays - If the natural birth was in a hospital, the mother can be discharged soon after birth. This has financial benefits also. Lesser postpartum pain - Postpartum pain is also lesser in a normal delivery, as you don’t have any big incision to be healed. Lower maternal mortality rates -Problems can arise in any birthing incident. But compared to C-section, vaginal birth has lower maternal mortality rates Natural delivery doesn’t affect future pregnancies -Since you had your child vaginally, there is no scar left over from a C-section. This means your further deliveries will have zero risks of tearing any uterine scars from a previous delivery. Sense of accomplishment -There is a sense of accomplishment that develops in women who give birth naturally. They feel that they have undergone all stages of labor and delivery and hence are stronger in their own way. Women who have normal delivery are extremely empowered and feel much more confident and are at a lower risk of having postpartum depression. Less blood loss or hemorrhage -Blood loss during C-section is much more compared to that for a vaginal delivery. Often blood transfusion is required during a C-section. No anesthesia side effects -Normal delivery doesn’t involve anesthesia and so has no risks caused by anesthesia as in a C-section. Anesthesia given can cause a lowering of blood pressure, nausea, headache, and confusion and in unfortunate cases even nerve damages and aspiration during surgery. Content Source Featured Image Source
How Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring Test Is Done?
If you’re pregnant your doctor wants to make sure your baby is healthy and growing as he should. One of the ways she does that is to check the rate and rhythm of your baby’s heartbeat. Fetal heart monitoring is part of every pregnancy checkup. It’s combined with other tests for a closer look if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions that could cause problems for you and your baby. Fetal heart rates also can help count your contractions and tell if you’re going into labor too early. How the Test Is Done Your doctor can monitor the baby’s heartbeat one of two ways. She can listen for and record the beats from your belly. Or once your water has broken and you’re in labor, she can thread a thin wire through your cervix and attach it to your baby’s head. From the outside: If your pregnancy is going normally, your doctor likely will check your baby’s heart rate with a hand-held device called a Doppler ultrasound. If you need it, your doctor might do a special test called a nonstress test, usually starting around 32 weeks of your pregnancy. It counts the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up during a 20-minute period. For the test, you'll lie down with a sensor belt around your belly. A machine will record the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up in a 20-minute stretch. If it’s fewer than 2, your doctor will run a longer test and try to wake the baby or make him stir with noise over your belly. Your doctor also may put you on a fetal heart rate monitor during your delivery. It can tell your doctor if the contractions are stressing your baby. If so, you might have to have your baby as soon as possible. From the inside: Once your water breaks and your cervix opens to prepare for birth, your doctor can run a wire called an electrode through it and into your womb. The wire attaches to your baby’s head and connects to a monitor. This gives a better reading than listening to his heartbeat from the outside. Content Source Featured Image Source
Getting your baby into the right position for birth
If your baby is in a head-down position, with the back of his head slightly towards the front of your tummy (anterior position), your labour is likely to be shorter and easier. Most babies get into this position by the end of pregnancy. In an anterior position, your baby fits snugly into the curve of your pelvis. During labour, your baby will curl his back over, and tuck his chin into his chest. Your labour and birth should progress easily if your baby is in this position, because: During contractions, the top of your baby's head puts rounded and even pressure on the neck of your uterus (cervix). This helps your cervix to widen, and your body to produce the hormones you need for labour. During the pushing stage, your baby moves through your pelvis at an angle, so that the smallest area of his head comes first. Try putting on a tight polo neck without tucking in your chin and you'll understand how this works! When your baby gets to the bottom of your pelvis, he turns his head slightly, so that the widest part of his head is in the widest part of your pelvis. The back of his head can then slip underneath your pubic bone. As he is born, his face sweeps across the area between your vagina and back passage (perineum). Can I really make my baby get into the right position for birth? Adopting a hands-and-knees position for 10 minutes, twice a day, can help to move your baby into an anterior position in late pregnancy. This technique (OFP) is tried-and-tested. However, all doctors may not recommend OFP in pregnancy because of the lack of written evidence. Most doctors may still encourage you to try the positions during labour, as you may be more comfortable in them once your contractions start. You could try to stay in upright or forward postures regularly in every-day life, rather than for short bursts. But this might not affect how your baby lies at birth. How can I improve my baby's position during labour? If your baby is in a posterior position when labour starts, you can still use postures and movements to try and help your baby to turn and relieve your pain. It's common for posterior babies to change position during labour, and most get themselves into an anterior position by the pushing stage. You may feel slight niggling pains for several days before labour really starts. This can be tiring, but may be a sign that your baby is trying to turn into an anterior position. You may find that one of the best positions is on all fours. In this position, your baby drops away from your spine, helping to relieve backache and hopefully helping him to turn, too. Here are some tips for coping with pre-labour and early labour: Get plenty of rest at night. Vary your daytime activities from walking and moving around, to adopting all-fours or knees-to-chest positions. Knees –to-chest position is when you're on your knees with your head, shoulders and upper chest on the floor or mattress, with your bottom in the air. Lean forwards during contractions, and try pelvic rocking on a birth ball. Eat and drink regularly to keep your strength up and stay hydrated. Try to stay relaxed and positive. Content source Featured image source
Effective tips to prevent preterm labor
Along with the joy of pregnancy, a first-time mother also experiences anxiety and fear about labor and delivery. She wants her pregnancy to be smooth and uneventful. She is scared that something might go wrong during her pregnancy and her baby might be harmed. At times, a mother is unable to carry her baby for the entire nine months and has a delivery before the full term. A baby who gets delivered before the 37th week is termed as a preterm baby. A preterm baby may or may not be completely developed and are at a high risk of various diseases and infections. Although the causes of preterm labor are not exactly known, experts point to a number of factors can trigger preterm labor- Smoking, alcohol and drug use: Short interval between pregnancies Uterine and vaginal infections Pregnancy complications Structural anomalies of the uterus and/or cervix Gum infections Stress levels Occupational factors Carrying multiples Maternal age A previous preterm birth If you were preterm yourself Although, many of the above factors are beyond a mother’s control, there are still a few precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent preterm labor – Eat healthy – A healthy diet goes a long way in ensuring that you have a healthy baby. Consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin C, in order to provide your growing baby all the essential nutrients and build his/her immune system. Avoid alcohol – Consuming alcohol during pregnancy has often been linked to preterm labor so quit drinking for the sake of your baby. Alcohol may also harm your baby’s growth adversely. Say no to smoking – Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to go into preterm labor and their babies are more likely to have low birth weight. Stop smoking immediately to ensure the well-being of your baby. Exercise and yoga – Staying active, exercising regularly and practicing prenatal yoga not only ensures a smooth delivery but also helps to improve the chances of carrying your baby full term. Take prenatal vitamins – Vitamin deficiency is one of the main factors responsible for preterm labor. Make sure that you take all your prenatal vitamins timely. Keep an eye on your weight – Maintain a healthy weight as prescribed by your doctor. Adding too many kilos can lead to gestational diabetes and this might lead to early labor. Being underweight may also be a cause of preterm labor. Stay hydrated – Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, simple it helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Maintain adequate gap between two pregnancies- If you’re planning another baby, ensure that you conceive after a minimum of 18 months after your first baby is born. If the mother’s body is weak, the chances of a preterm labor are higher. Do not hold on to urine – Urinate whenever you have the urge to. Holding on to urine can not only lead to urinary tract infections but also put unnecessary pressure on the bladder and lead to preterm labor. Get adequate rest – Getting adequate rest is of utmost importance in ensuring that you have an uneventful pregnancy and are able to carry your baby to the full term. Maintain good oral health – This might sound surprizing but good oral health goes a long way in ensuring that you carry your baby to the full term. Keep flu at bay – Research has shown that women who catch a flu often are more likely to go into preterm labor. Make sure that you are vaccinated against the flu and are getting enough rest even if you get it. Featured Image Source
Abdominal pain during pregnancy
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy. Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time. How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances. Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever. Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately. Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks. Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.
7 Strategies to make labour easier
Labour is the hardest physical task that a woman experiences. Since a normal delivery takes less time to heal and doesn’t leave any visible scars on a woman’s body, most women aim to deliver vaginally. In order to do so, the mother needs to prepare her body accordingly. Although labour is a long and painful task, there are some things that you can definitely do to make it easier and smoother for you. 1. Do Squats Daily Squats is the most beneficial exercise for every woman looking forward to delivery close to their due date. Due to its role in facilitating smoother deliveries, squats are considered to be the best exercise for easy labour. The best way to do squats is using a medicine ball, keeping it between the lower back and the wall and rotating the toes and knees as wide apart as possible. It is recommended to do 15 squats daily in this position for expecting mothers to have a great delivery experience. 2. Practice Yoga After consulting your gynecologist, practice yoga during pregnancy regularly. Not only does it help to relax the body and make it flexible but also improves your breathing and prepares the body for labour. Various yoga asanas help to make the pelvic muscles more flexible to ease labour. It helps to get rid of stress and also provides relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy suffer from fewer health problems. 3. Sleep Adequately and Regularly Among all the tips on how to make labour easier and faster, this is the easiest to follow and is the most effective. As discussed earlier, such a stressful and important event like labour requires calmness from the mother’s end. Only a well and adequately rested person can adapt to such a scenario seamlessly. An expecting mother should sleep at least seven hours or more every day for a faster and smoother labour experience. The sleeping experience should be enhanced with soft, skin-friendly pillows and recliner beds for the comfort of the mother and the child. 4. Massage Regular massage of the stomach along with perineal massage towards the end of the pregnancy helps to decrease discomfort and relax the muscles of the stomach and the vagina. Perineal massage helps to stretch the tissues of the vagina and this reduces the chances of vaginal tearing during birth. Massage also helps to increase the blood circulation in the perineal tissues and this in turn speeds up the process of healing after childbirth. Massaging of the thighs may also be done during labour to release tension between the contractions and to encourage the labour to progress. 5. Practice Breathing Techniques Labour is an extremely painful experience for any woman. Breathing helps the woman in labour to adapt to the pain better and also helps in relaxing her. Breathing also helps in setting rhythmic contractions and helping the woman to push better and more efficiently. Breathing also ensures that the body has enough oxygen and the mother does not pass out due to the astronomical labour pain and cramps due to her contractions. 6. Take a Childbirth Class Pregnancy is a mentally and physically taxing period for expecting parents where there is a lot of new things to be learnt and a lot of responsibilities to be understood as well as the do’s and don’ts of parenting. Hence, it is always good to be prepared for the moment of childbirth well in advance to make sure everything goes perfectly and according to plan. A childbirth class also relieves pressure that can be faced by dealing with the unknown and helps the partners be prepared for everything from the water-breaking to the cutting of the umbilical cord. A childbirth class can also be beneficial in providing easy labour tips to make the whole process simpler and faster. 7. Stay Upright during Labour Rather than lying down and trying to push, it is considered to be better to stay upright on the bed and push. This is because gravity plays to the advantage of the mother and child as the child’s head pressing against the cervix due to gravity helps it in dilating faster and more easily. A variety of positions can also be tried out, like kneeling, squatting and standing to see what gives the best results during labour. Movement of the body also helps widen the pelvis helping the baby’s head to pass through easily. Hope the above strategies help to make your labour shorter and easier! Content Source Featured Image Source
Shopping, hairstyle and more!
Tingling sensation continues? As you glide into the 24th week, you may be feeling that much change has not occurred since the last week to this one. The next few weeks will be such that your body may not show too many symptoms of change but the symptoms that are already present may tend to aggravate a little more. For instance, last week we spoke about how your palms would feel a tingling sensation on them due the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This week CTS may go that extra mile and make your fingers and wrists turn rigid and numb. Move your wrists and fingers in circular motion to let the blood flow. This will provide you with temporary relief. Time for a new hairdo? Another thing you might have noticed is that your hair and nails are continuing to grow faster and rather wonderfully. Be grateful of the hair growth now, as post-delivery, your hair may fall out in large chunks. Cherish that luscious hair and try out a new hairdo, we say! Get on a shopping spree! Have you sorted out your wardrobe yet? In few more weeks, you are going to outgrow most of your clothes. Well, this is the perfect excuse to get on a shopping spree, don't you think so? Get some shoes for yourself too, now that your shoe size is definitely bigger. Do not hesitate to use tummy belts or lowers with belts, specially designed for maternity, to provide extra support to your belly. Vaginal Discharge Some women experience vaginal discharge throughout pregnancy. If you find it itchy or extremely foul-smelling, do contact your doctor immediately. Meanwhile, ensure the vaginal area is always dry and clean. Such problems if ignored may lead to urinary tract infections, which are again common in pregnancy. Anxiety about delivery Are you constantly thinking about the big day? What is that you are hoping for - natural or a C-section or something else? You may have all chances of a normal, natural delivery if you focus on a healthy, well-balanced diet and a good fitness routine. Remember to focus on your pelvic area and legs while exercising. Trouble in bed? You are probably finding it difficult to sleep comfortably, thanks to all the weight gain. Well, it is time to stop sleeping on your back now. SOS - sleep on side, preferably left, is the new position for you. You could also try a soft pregnancy pillow for some relief while sleeping. Upcoming tests Are you aware of the tests/scans that are coming up? You may have a glucose tolerance test around 24-28 weeks. It is a good idea for your partner to accompany you for such tests, from now on.
Preparing for a baby: Getting your finances in order
Planning ahead for conception (as opposed to those oops! pregnancies) means you’ll also have time to plan for the financial changes you’ll experience once baby makes three (or more). When you’re financially preparing for a baby, don’t stress out about tackling every line item at once (no need to worry just yet about how you’ll pay those college bills), but anything you can start taking stock of now will make money matters down the road easier on your wallet and your sanity. Next, make a list of your expenses and then add in the baby costs you’ll be calculating soon: diapers, bottles, formula (if you don’t plan on breastfeeding), baby clothes, baby gear, baby food, baby toys, etc., so you can get a clearer idea of what your expenses really will be once your family starts to grow. Before you panic about all the baby-preparing you’ll need to do, remember, you’ll be getting plenty of those mommy necessities and niceties as gifts; others you’ll be able to borrow from friends and family. Finally, think of ways (big and small) to cut corners and generate extra cash for baby expenses. Some almost painless ways to save big when you’re preparing for your baby include: Cutting back on luxuries such as expensive restaurant meals and high-priced lattes (you don’t need all that caffeine now, anyway). Using the old “loose-change-in-a-jar” trick: Just be sure to move the money periodically into a savings account (preferably an interest-bearing one that you’ve both sworn not to dip into). Looking critically at monthly expenditures for home and cell phone services, cable, gym memberships, and the like. Not that you need to live without these conveniences, but you may be able to switch to cheaper ones. Often just calling to threaten a switch can snag you a better deal. After all, companies like to keep their customers. Reducing credit card debt by avoiding late fees, paying more than the minimum each month, and rolling balances onto low-interest cards. Diverting some of your current savings into a “baby fund” for your various baby expenses. content source