One of the things that I am finding more and more is that patients, particularly my first time moms to be, have no idea what to expect during labor and delivery. Instead, they are getting all their information from friends, relatives; i.e., moms, sisters, etc., google, or chat-rooms that are filling their minds with information that just isn’t true; thus leaving them afraid, mortified, or anxious about the upcoming events. Here are my
Top Five Recommendations for Your First Labor and Delivery Experience:
Remain focused. If you have indeed been admitted, it’s usually because “something’s” going on; i.e., YOU’RE IN LABOR! This is the time to keep your eyes on the prize as baby is a comin’. I’m commonly asked “when” baby is coming and the obvious answer to that is “I DON’T KNOW.” Babies come when they are ready. This is a good time to get used to the soon to be addition to your family calling the shots.
It’s a process! Lots of people think that babies just fall out; however, they don’t call it LABOR for nothin’. Labor means work. By definition, labor is defined as contractions that cause cervical change. There is latent labor, and active labor. Go figure, even labor is broken down into stages……..Even once one is completely dilated(10 centimeters), you still have to push the baby out. BE PATIENT! You could be pushing for hours! While it does occasionally happen that a baby just falls out of the vagina; in my experience, there is usually some pushing involved.
Go with the flow. YOU are the M.V.P of this ENTIRE experience. Wanna walk? Walk. Want intermittent monitoring? Ask your physician. Want to labor in the bathtub? Go for it. Want pain meds? Just ask. Even if you have a birth plan, keep in mind, A WOMAN’S ALLOWED TO CHANGE HER MIND, or, BABY might change it for you. Remember, this is unchartered territory for most…..no one can tell YOU how to feel.
Ask LOTS of questions. We are here for you! Being aware of decisions being made, why certain things are or aren’t happening should all be communicated to you; this is where your nurses come in; remember, they’ve got your back! We feel more comfortable/empowered when we are aware or “in the loop” so to speak. Knowledge is power, or as GI Joe says, “knowing is half the battle.” When we feel in control, we are more apt to have a good experience and not be as anxious, stressed out, etc.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one cares if you have a bowel movement or urinate during the birthing process. Angry outbursts, yelling and screaming, going from nice to “Mitch” in 0.5 seconds, is all par for the course. Remember, it’s whatever it takes to get you that happy, healthy baby!
Hoping this has provided the slightest bit of enlightenment to your day!
Until next time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.