Hello moms-to-be. We are excited to see you have made it to week thirty-two. We know that some of you gals are planning to have a natural childbirth, one free of pain medications and medical interventions. This week’s newsletter is just for you ladies. Not everyone is interested in having a “natural birth,” but we think that everyone can use a few pointers on how to deal with pain during childbirth. Sometimes when you go into labor, your birth plan gets thrown out the window, and it always helps to be prepared. So with that in mind, we will head into the newsletter. We are including all the best tips for moms and dads on how to have a natural childbirth. And for you ladies that just aren’t all that interested in going through pain, don’t worry. Next week’s newsletter is just for you!
What Is Going on with Mom & Baby
Baby is the size of a jicama!
Baby: Baby’s crown to rump length is around 30 cm (11.8 inches). Your baby weighs about 1900-2000 grams (4.2-4.4 pounds). Your baby appears less red and wrinkled now. Her kidneys are fully developed now. Your baby should be in a head down position inside your uterus; if she is not, this is considered a breech presentation. If your baby is breech, your doctor or midwife may want to try to turn your baby into the right position. There are several methods for turning breech babies. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options.
Mom: You may be having some problems with swelling now that you are in your third trimester. If your hands are swelling, you may want to take off any rings until after you deliver. Some swelling is normal, but if you are having excessive swelling, headaches, or blurred vision, talk to your doctor as these can be signs of a serious condition known as preeclampsia.
This Week’s Pregnancy Checklist
- You may want to have your hospital bag ready to go now.
- Purchase massage tools, or you can use a tennis ball or paint roller.
- Purchase going-home clothes for you. (You will likely need maternity or stretchy clothes.
- Practice lamaze breathing, hypnosis, or other pain relief techniques for labor.
- Review emergency childbirth information. (In the event that you can’t make it to the hospital).
- Take a new belly picture for your scrapbook or journal.
Natural Childbirth Tips for Moms
Here are some tips for achieving a natural childbirth.
Make sure your doctor or midwife is supportive of natural childbirth. Talk to her about your childbirth goals. You can normally get a good read on how your doctor feels about natural childbirth by listening to his or her reactions to you. Having a supportive doctor or midwife is very important when trying to have a natural childbirth.
Hire a doula. Doulas, as discussed in an earlier newsletter, help coach and assist you during childbirth. Having a doula with you during your childbirth will greatly increase your chances of doing things naturally.
Get your nurse on your side. Talk to your nurse about your goals. Your nurse can be your best friend during childbirth. Tell her that you want to have a natural childbirth as soon as you meet with her. She can help you by encouraging you, making your more comfortable, or just being close by if you need help.
Change positions during labor. Try walking, leaning, rocking or getting on all fours. You may find one position feels more comfortable than another. You may be advised to give birth on your back. Even though a lot of hospitals still use this position, this is not the best position for birth. A semi-sitting position is similar to being on your back, but much more comfortable and effective.
Don’t tense up. Yes, we know. This may be easier said than done. You may find yourself tensing up during contractions. Clenching your fists or curling up may make your contractions feel more intense. Try to breathe and relax as much as possible during contractions.
Don’t panic. A lot of moms do really well during the first part of labor and start to panic once contractions start to get stronger and more painful. You may start to feel like your labor is never going to end or that you are not making progress fast enough. Try to focus on making it through one contraction at a time and don't move into panic mode. Panicking or getting hysterical will make your contractions seem more painful and feel as though they are lasting longer. If you find yourself getting into panic mode, regroup and try to breathe and relax through a few contractions. Once you can get back into a calm state of mind, your contractions may be more manageable.
Natural Childbirth Tips for Dads
Here are a few tips for dads:
Be supportive. Don’t worry if you are doing or saying everything right. One of the best things you can do to help your partner is asking her what she needs from you. Usually she just wants your support and encouragement. Some things you can do to be supportive are feeding her ice cubes, rubbing her back, or just giving her a gentle hug or kiss between contractions.
Don’t get too excited or carried away with your coaching. It can be distracting or annoying to have too much cheering on or coaching during labor. Remind your partner to breathe during contractions but don’t count with her or breathe with her unless she asks you to. Listen to what she wants and tries to follow her lead.
Don’t eat in front of her, argue with her, or minimize her pain. Your partner probably won’t be allowed to eat anything during labor. Although she probably won’t be hungry, that doesn’t mean she wants to watch you eat. It is not uncommon for couples to argue during childbirth. She may be more irritable than normal, but try not take this personally. Sometimes dads try to relate with their partner’s experience and pain. Try not to minimize her pain by comparing it to your own experiences. Listen and encourage without trying to relate.
Intervene for your partner. Try to be her voice. You can help your partner by reminding the nurses and staff that she would like to do things naturally.
Encourage her to try a little longer. It is very difficult for dads to see their partner in pain. A lot of dads want to do something to take away the pain. Sometimes dads inadvertently are unsupportive, not because they don’t care, but because they don’t want their partner to be in pain any longer. Encourage her to try a little longer. She may ask you what you think or look to you for guidance in regards to getting pain medication or an epidural. Try to put the decision back in her hands or encourage her to try a little longer before she makes a decision.