The thing with giving birth is that it is unpredictable.
And unfortunately experiencing complex situations during labour are not uncommon. You can do all the planning in the world. Even prepare several copies of fancy, visual birth plans.
And you can write detailed accounts of your preferred A, B & C birth plans.
BUT there are no guarantees when it comes to having your baby.
In this post, I intend to run through seven of the most common problems that arise during labour. And more importantly at the end discuss what you can do to keep cool, calm and collected should any of these happen to you and your baby.
- Foetal Distress
Foetal distress is a medical term that basically means your baby is showing prolonged abnormal heart rate OR signs of an inadequate amount of oxygen reaching them.
If this happens to you and your baby you will be regularly or continuously monitored in order for your midwife to stay on top of any further potential complications.
If your baby shows signs of distress, rest assured your midwife will quickly address the situation and advise you on your next steps. This may mean that you’ll need an assisted delivery or further medical intervention such as a C-section.
2. Poor Labour Position
The optimal position for labour is one that is gravity-friendly. Standing, squatting, and rocking on all fours are positions that open up the uterus. These positions give your baby up to 28% more room and greatly encourage baby to descend through the birth canal and twist and turn through your pelvis.
If it ispossible for you, remember to stay Upright, Forward and Open as much as you can. Think UFO!
Unfortunately, the image most of us have of women birthing is one where we are laying on our backs. What with that and most hospital rooms having only a bed and a chair in, many women find themselves adopting this position for birth when they could have a better position.
Lying flat on your back can push your tailbone in which restricts your baby’smovement. This position also limits your movement and your baby’s route can hit a dead end.
Where possible adopting a new position can fix this and help your baby move along. Your midwife will be able to adjust the bed so you can use it more optimally. Ask her, she will be please to help you stay upright, forward and open where possible.
3. Placental abruption
Placenta abruption means your placenta has prematurely detached itself from your uterine wall, your uterus.
A prematurely detached placenta can hold back much needed oxygen and nutrients from your baby.
Severe bleeding in the third trimester or during labour can be a sign of placental abruption. An emergency C-section might be necessary if your midwife feels that either you or your baby is in trouble.
Epidurals can have side effects that many of us are not aware of. They reduce any labour pain by numbing the sensation from just below your breasts and down pasted your pelvis.
An epiduralis administered between specific segments of the spine, a fine needle is injected and a small tube is fed though. The needle is withdrawn, leaving the fine tube in place.
Anaesthetic then flows through the tube directly around the nerves of the spine and temporarily reduces the sensation in the lower half of the body.
Epidurals have their benefits, but they can also delay delivery for two reasons. Firstly, you can find difficult to use your legs since the lower half of your body feels numb. Lack of mobility can make it harder for a baby to find and move down through your pelvis.
Secondly, the numbing effect of the epidural reduces your muscle strength from the waist down. As a result, you may have more difficulty pushing your baby out on your own and need intervention. Your midwife will use forceps or vacuum caps if you find yourself in this situation.
5. Failure to progress
Failure to progress is a medical term for a slow labour. Slow labour can happen when your cervix does not completely dilate. As a result, your labour may slow down or stop completely. A slow labour will be diagnosed in the second stage of labour after you have dilated to at least 5cm. It would be too early to tell if your labour was flailing to progress before this point.
Failure to progress is a short succinct phrase that allows your midwifes to communicate to each other clearly. As its not language we would normal use to hear this about yourself may cause you to be upset. So reframe it. Failure to progress means that Mum and baby are tiring, emotionally and physically so too avoid further distress intervention could be a good course of action.
6. Cord prolapse
The umbilical cord your baby’s lifeline, it carry’s nutrients and oxygen to your baby while carrying away the waste. If your cord is pushed through your cervix and becomes visible you’re your vagina before delivery, you have a cord prolapse. In some cases, this can mean you’ll need an emergency C-section delivery.
Cord prolapseis considered high risk for a vaginal delivery because your contractions can cause intense pressure that can compress the cord. If this happened their could be a severe reducing the blood supply, cutting off oxygen to your baby.
It is anuncommon complication, occurring in about 1 in every 300 births. However, if ithappens, an emergency C-section may be scheduled.
7. Placental abruption
A placental abruption is when your placenta prematurely detaches from your uterine wall. A placenta that becomes partially detached can hold back oxygen and nutrients from your baby.
Severe bleeding in the third trimester or during labour is a sign of placental abruption. An emergency C-section birth may be, in some cases necessary.
How You Can Help Yourself...
Okay take a deep breathe.
I want you to know that just because these things can happen in labour doesn’t mean that they will happen to you.
And just supposing you were to experience any complications like the ones mentioned above it doesn’t mean your experience of birth needs to be negative or traumatic.
It just means that your coping skills will be put to good use and be even more profound during these challenging times.
A traumatic birth occurs when you feel out of control. When you feel like you're uninformed. When your feel like you do not have the skills to cope with and help you manage difficult situations.
And this is where our Positive Blooming birth courses come in, self-insight, knowledge, confidence and coping skills are all things we cover in depth.
Whist finding yourself in this situation can be worrying and induce a real time stress response of your body, knowing how to manage your thoughts and emotions well at this time will help you to reduce the effects of the stress response.
Real Time Stress Response...
The stress response is an inbuilt survival mechanism that we all have within us and it kicks in when we feel fearful, worried, doubtful and scared.
There are a couple of things that you can do in order for you to help yourself remain calm and to protect your baby from further stress. Firstly, trust that you are being well looked after and supported by your birth partner and your midwife. They are both there to help and support you.
Next focus on all the things you can control and influence in the moment. This will be your emotional and physical response, by focusing on what you can control and influence you will still be able to experience your baby’s arrival positively, and feel empowered.
If you'd like to discover how you can help yourself further join us online in our FREE 5-Day Mini Birth Preparation Course starting on 21st January 2019. >> CLICK HERE https://mailchi.mp/db4737d0c3f0/free-5-day-mini-birth-preparation-jan2019