The day a baby is born is the happiest time in a woman's life. Despite all the books she has read and all the old wives tales she has been entertained with, nothing quite prepares her for the pain of childbirth. The minute a woman goes into that labor room, her birth plan goes out the window and what she expected is far from what she finds.
Labor can be unpredictable and it may move from smooth to complicated in a heartbeat. A woman who has been diagnosed with a low-risk pregnancy can become high risk and her expected natural birth can become a emergency C-section in the blink of an eye. There are labors that only last for only 15 minutes, and there are others that takes as long as two days.
There are women who have been known to have their baby in a toilet bowl, having been pregnant for nine months without a clue, and then there are those who go through all the prenatal clinics, all the vitamins, and birth classes only to have the most painful prolonged labor of all time.
Labor isn't about how prepared you are, but rather about luck or divine intervention. It is good to be prepared, but being aware of the fact that anything can happen is also a good thing. In the labor room, a lot may happen and doctors have to be on their toes bracing for any eventuality like the following 15 mistakes that can happen with the baby during labor.
14 Wrong Labor Positions
Doctors have this rule where they expect women to labor on their back, preferably with stirrups on their feet. While this position is quite favorable for the doctor as he gets an unobstructed view of the action, it does no favors for the mother. The correct birth position that nature intended is where the mother is assisted by gravity. While lying on her back may be comfortable for a time while in labor, there comes a time when a woman feels the need to get up and move around, get on all fours, or squat like Native Americans are reported to have done.
If the mother is squatting, standing or on all fours, then there is a wider chance of opening the uterus faster. With an open uterus and gravity doing its thing, the baby is encouraged to leave his cushy home and explore the outside world. The sad thing is that doctors still resist these positions and insist on the traditional lie on your back method, which can lead to slow labor and even obstructions.
If the doctors are a bit flexible and allow for a different position, the problem is quickly bypassed. It is understandable that doctors and nurses don’t want the baby to pop out when no one is there to catch it, making it more difficult for the laboring mother doesn’t seem to be a good answer either.
13 Saying No To Fetal Monitoring
According to BabyCenter, fetal distress is the term that is used to show that the baby is having problems coping with the labor demands. Fetal heart rate monitors have been bashed right, left and center with most mothers deeply opposed to them. These gadgets prevent a mother from laboring in different positions and they tend to add stress to the labor room. Many women complain that they are not allowed to reject having the fetal monitor because they prefer to be able to move around while in labor.
Even though every woman is stressed enough without getting additional stress from being forced to wear a monitor, the absence of fetal monitoring can prove to be devastating.
Doctors are advised to closely monitor labor and delivery to prevent the negative outcomes of fetal distress, which occurs when the baby does not receive oxygen. Quick intervention is called for when the baby is not receiving enough oxygen and especially if the lack of oxygen is prolonged.
Even though fetal monitors have been attributed to increased chances of a C-section, they are an important tool to help alleviate some of these controllable problems and for a mother who wants to be on top of things, consenting to a heart monitor may save the life of her baby.
12 Not Preparing For Epidural Side Effects
Most women are truly afraid of pain and with the horror stories spread about the pain during labor most women pray for an epidural hoping to at least go through a painless labor. Though this is possible, it is imperative to know that a truly pain-free labor is just a myth.
Even with an epidural, one will still experience pain since an epidural will only be administered when a woman is about 5 cm dilated. Up until that time, the woman will be experiencing plenty of contractions and be feeling their share of pain.
The epidural numbs a woman's lower body making the legs immobile. Doctors delay administering an epidural because it is known to slow the progression of labor and this is usually something that neither the doctor or the woman really wants. In addition, the woman can not push efficiently because she cannot feel it. As a result, the baby is often removed with forceps. While this is quite heaven-sent for those of us who are afraid of pain, epidurals come with a lot of side effects, one of them being a slower labor, not to mention the potential accidents due to the use of a vacuum cap or forceps on the baby.
11 Not Spacing Out Pregnancies
After having a c-section the first or second times around, an expectant woman might decide to try for a natural birth, popularly known as a VBAC or vaginal birth after a C-section.
This can often happen when a woman had to have an emergency C-section and was not able to experience a natural birth. And, not many years ago, doctors would not have attempted this or allowed their patient to attempt it as there is a real risk of the uterus rupturing as the woman tries to push during labor. It was believed that the risk of the uterus rupturing was too great to risk going through a naturally progressing labor.
These days though, women who have had a C-section can successfully give birth naturally. A woman's medical provider will have to give her a green light in order for her to attempt a natural birth, but this is quite possible.
For one to qualify for a VBAC, one has to space out her pregnancies in order to provide adequate time for the body to completely heal and recover, otherwise, it becomes too risky.
A woman is also expected to be in good physical and mental health.
10 Holding Onto The Birth Plan Too Tightly
Some women have a narrow pelvis, while others have what is commonly known as child-bearing hips. These are the women who can push like pros. Hips though have nothing to do with birth, it is just an old women’s adage. It was believed that women with wider hips, also had a wider pelvis, thereby making for easy childbearing. While this isn’t really true, a narrow pelvis can mean a difficult time birthing a child.
Having narrow hips or a baby with a big head means that he will not successfully descend through the birth canal. When the birth canal is not wide enough for the baby to move through, there is a risk to both the mother and the baby. In such a situation, it is recommended that a C-section is carried out.
Even though this is a rare thing, there is a slim chance of it happening and it may be the cause of women who are undergoing slow labor. In many cases, the doctor may already be aware of the likelihood that this could happen based on ultrasounds. This situation is called a cephalopelvic disproportion and even though it can be distressing the first time, there is no reason to think that baby number two can’t be born through a virginal birth with no complications.
9 The Fatigue Can Get To You
When a woman goes into labor, some expect to go to to the hospital and be back home for dinner or breakfast the following day. Not many women think that they are going to be the small percentage of labor situations that go wrong. Certainly, no woman expects that her labor will adopt a snail’s pace. You may have heard or women being in labor for 24 hours.
On average, first-time mom is in active labor for up to 8 hours, but remember that it is different for every woman.
Every rulebook a woman reads on labor says that labor progresses gradually at a particular pace. However, if there is incomplete dilation of the cervix, labor may be too slow and in some cases, it stops altogether. This is normally declared in the woman's second stage of labor after about 5 cm dilation. Slow labor drains the mother and if she is in a labor ward with other women, seeing them progress fast can be distressing for the mother and the child too.
Fetal fatigue during labor is cause for an immediate C-section. It is up to the woman and her doctor to determine a plan of action if labor is taking too long. Many will opt for a C-section because both mother and baby are too exhausted to continue naturally.
8 What Color Is The Water After It Breaks?
There are times when even the birth that appeared to be going smoothly suddenly becomes an emergency. After a baby is born, the first bowel movement that he has is dark in color and is called meconium. This stool, has a tar-like appearance and most pediatricians and OB/GYNs will warn new parents about it so they won’t be alarmed.
However, it may decide to come earlier, before the baby is born and while it is still in the womb. When this happens, it goes into the amniotic fluid and the baby breathes it in, leading to blockage of his airways. When this happens, the baby’s level of oxygen go down and he becomes distressed.
A mother or doctor will know when this has happened by the color of the water when it breaks. It should normally be fairly colorless. Water with meconium in it will be dark. When this is noted, the situation calls for an emergency C-section. In most cases, the baby is fine after birth, but there are those babies who have to be taken to the NICU and others who do not make it. The good news is that this situation is quite rare and with the right medical intervention its outcome is less devastating.
7 Not Paying Attention To Pregnancy Symptoms
The placenta develops in the uterus in pregnancy and its sole purpose is to supply oxygen and nutrition while at the same time removing the waste from the baby. The placenta is what connects the baby to the mother through the umbilical cord. The placenta usually attaches to the side of the uterus or at the top of the uterus.
According to Mayo Clinic, however, placenta previa occurs when the baby’s placenta totally or partially attaches in an area that eventually covers the uterus outlet or the cervix. This condition has a tendency to cause severe bleeding and some women bleed throughout the pregnancy.
Patients can be diagnosed pretty early in the pregnancy through an ultrasound and most doctors will advise that it is not something to be overly concerned about.
But, in most cases, rest is recommended, as well as avoiding the use of tampons and being intimate. For most women, the condition resolves on its own before it is time to deliver.
With the growth of the uterus, it tends to increase the distance between the placenta and the cervix. However, if the placenta is still covering the cervix when labor begins, the mother will have to undergo a C-section. This is because with the placenta blocking the cervix there is no way for the child to exit the uterus other than surgery.
6 Was There Red After The 12th Week?
Bleeding during the first few months of pregnancy is somewhat normal and there are those women who bleed throughout their pregnancies. This is one of the reasons some women never know they are pregnant until they go into labor. Different kinds of bleeding have different meanings.
In the first month, bleeding could be a sign of implantation or an ectopic pregnancy. Bleeding after the twentieth week of pregnancy should be handled with a lot of caution as this could be a case of placenta abruption.
According to American Pregnancy, placental abruption is a situation where the placenta separates itself from the uterine lining prior to the birth of the baby. The reason for this is not known except when it occurs after physical trauma, such as a car accident. When this happens it prevents nutrients and oxygen from getting to the baby.
While there are no visible signs of a placental abruption, the presence of severe bleeding and pain in the third trimester is a pretty good indicator. Placenta abruption calls for an emergency medical intervention to save both the mother and baby. Depending on the amount of separation, the doctor may order bed rest for the mother and minimal movement, or it may be necessary to perform a C-section in hopes of saving the baby and mother.
5 C-Sections Might Be A Must (So Don't Stress Out)
There are those women who visit the doctor during the last stages of their pregnancy and the last scan shows that the baby is incredibly big. Most women pray fervently for a natural birth and they go into the labor room hoping that their dream can come true. But if the baby a woman is expecting is too big, there are chances that the medical team will not agree to deliver the baby naturally.
There are several causes for this but it is most prominent with women who have diabetes, whether before after onset after pregnancy began. It is also more common in women who are obese. However, the reason is not fully understood. It is simply known that these babies put on more fat and grow faster than the average fetus.
According to Healthline, Macrosomia is the condition where the woman is carrying a baby bigger than 8 pounds 13 ounces. Macrosomia is contributed to the mother's weight and in some cases, it is as a result of gestational diabetes. With a big baby comes additional risks, as the baby has the likelihood of getting stuck in the mother’s birth canal.
The mother’s birth assistants can assess the situation and if there is a probability of her giving birth naturally without any risk, she can have a natural birth, if not it is a C-section or early induction for her.
4 When The Baby Isn't Properly Monitored
A woman expects her birth session to follow the rule book with the baby coming out head first and making that long-awaited cry. Unfortunately, nature is unpredictable and can be very fickle. Instead of the head or the feet coming out first, the umbilical cord may come out first. When this happens, the situation is considered a cord prolapse.
This is one of the reasons laboring moms are hooked up to contraptions that monitor the baby. Through these, doctors and nurses are able to see if the baby’s heart rate drops and the baby is showing signs of distress.
Since the cord is what connects the mother to the baby and it is what supplies all the vital nutrients necessary for the babies survival, it can be extremely dangerous for it to come out first. It is quite possible that it is up against the baby’s head or shoulder and with each contraction, oxygen and blood supply may be cut off. Of course, this may lead to severe complications and can be the cause of brain damage from loss of oxygen to stillbirth. While this is a rare condition (about 1 percent of all births), doctors keep their eyes peeled just in case because this situation calls for a C-section.
3 Not Preparing For Complications
Labor may progress well with the mother having labored without any problems and dilated as expected with the baby’s head in the right position, and facing down. However, the minute his head comes out, according to EMedicine, one or more of the shoulders gets stuck on the mother's pelvis, thus obstructing the birth. This is known as shoulder dystocia.
Since the mother is still in the throes of labor, her intense contractions can compress the cord and this can cut off the oxygen supply to the baby, thus suffocating him. There is also a real danger of the baby’s lungs compressing. Although this happens rarely, it is a situation that gives OBGYNs nightmares. It is one of the most litigated birth complications because it can easily result in injuries to the baby or the mother. It is a situation that always requires assistance from the doctor for the baby to be born.
This is an emergency situation and it requires fast action from the health practitioners to help save the baby and prevent the mother from bleeding out. While this may be a scary situation for any parent to be, it is an almost normal occurrence in most births and women come out of it with their bundles of joy in their arms.
2 Everything Shifts
There is an old woman's tale that a woman's shoe size dictates what method of birth she will go through. Women with small feet are said to be more likely to undergo a C-section. The same women say that when a woman falls pregnant, nothing is ever the same and that ‘things' shift from one position to the other.
While it is true that ‘things’ shift in a woman’s body while she is pregnant, we can’t say much about the shoe size old wives tale. When a woman is pregnant, it is necessary that the organs in the body shift some in order to make room for the growing fetus. However, after the birth of the baby, things do move back to where they were original.
All these women have their reasons for believing these things and there may be some truth to the tales, but when a woman is pregnant, her pelvis relaxes and contracts in preparation for the birth. During labor, the pelvis stretches enough to accommodate the birth of the baby. In case a woman's pelvis is too narrow and she can therefore not push the baby out, the woman may require medical intervention for this condition that is known as fetopelvic disproportion.
1 Feet First
Since the first day when the woman realizes she is pregnant, she dreams of the day she will hold her baby in her arms. Most women spend half their days talking to their bellies from day one, and the bond that is created makes the woman feel that she is not alone.
A baby growing in the womb swims around and has a jolly old time kicking the mother at very inconvenient times. As the baby grows during the last few weeks of the pregnancy, space gets limited and smaller until he has no more space to swim in and that is when he exits his cushy home.
Most babies follow the rule book and face down but some do not and they decide to sit or position their legs to come out first. When this happens, there are chances that the baby may get twisted in his cord. Not too long ago, women would automatically end up in the operating room if this happened. However, viewpoints have changed and there are now doctors who try to help with a natural birth for those willing to risk it.