After nine months (or ten months in all actuality), of exhaustion, nausea, fatigue and extreme heat even in the middle of winter, finally it’s the D-Day. rather, D-Day was probably a week ago but despite the woman's best efforts, the baby just wouldn’t leave his cozy home. After trying the walking trick, then the really embarrassing dance moves where one looks like a duck, most women resort to old wives tales of eating pineapples in plenty and when that doesn’t work, its olive oil for them.
Unfortunately, babies come when they are ready and not a day earlier. Unless of course, one opts for a C-section. The day a woman goes into labor is both exciting and scary all rolled into one. Most women have a birth plan in place by D-Day, but the plan often goes out the window, especially if things start moving faster than expected.
Every woman is told by those who have been there to pack a bag for the hospital stay starting with baby diapers to a few snacks for the stay. What no one tells these mothers-to-be is that when it comes to labor, the hospital stay is much like a parochial high school with many dos and don'ts bordering on the extreme. So what are these things that doctors forbid mom to do during labor?
15 Push When 'She' Wants
Most women who have a natural birth know that when one is in labor, the doctors and nurses insist that one cannot push until the woman is 10 centimeters dilated. The gory stories that come with that cervical exam and the nurses trying to prevent a woman from pushing are just too many for comfort. When an animal is in labor, its body knows just when to push. It’s a reflex that is ingrained in the woman's body and stopping the natural process is traumatic for both the mother and child.
Waiting until one is 10 centimeters makes a woman experience such intense pain that some women are put off childbirth permanently. There are women who talk of nurses pushing their legs together to prevent the natural progression of childbirth, something that could be remedied by just allowing them to give birth because a baby really does know when it is ready to come out.
14 Switch Up The Labor Positions
Some hospitals consider birth a high-risk affair and to counter the risk, they insist on an IV drip, as well as a fetal-heart-rate monitor. With all these gadgets attached to the woman's body, moving around is pretty much curtailed. The same applies to a woman who has had an epidural. Most women prefer to have a natural birth and with this, they often get relief from moving around and squatting when the pain is unbearable.
Unfortunately, in some hospitals, the policy is that one has to be hooked on stirrups, on her back, while the doctor stares at her waiting for the baby to come.
This is an uncomfortable position that in most cases works against the mother. The birthing experience could be more satisfying and a lot faster if only the doctors would appreciate the fact that there are other alternatives to laboring on your back, which may prove more beneficial to the mother.
13 Rush The Epidural
Some of us freak at the thought of going through the pain of childbirth. According to Parents.com, it takes an inner strength to labor without meds. It is not unheard of to see a woman opt for a C-section just so she does not go through it. Some women cry for an epidural even before they have felt the first pinch of pain. Unfortunately, if an epidural is administered too early, it may stall labor or slow down the contractions. Doctors prefer to administer an epidural when the woman is about 5 centimeters dilated.
While a no-pain labor is a great thing for any aspiring mother, the fact that an epidural may lead to complications should be enough to make any woman agree to follow doctor’s instructions on this one. Labor is painful, but it is manageable and the pain doesn’t last long and at the end of it, resulting in a beautiful bundle of joy.
12 Eat A Light Snack
When a woman is pregnant, her body is no longer hers -- heck nothing is hers anymore. She cannot make her own decisions and she can't even walk down the stairs without someone offering a hand. Standing up to get something in the kitchen has people scrambling to go get it for her. As if that isn’t bad enough, the number of people who keep shoving food in her face gets higher every day.
While it is quite normal for people to keep giving the woman something to eat or drink, the opposite happens in the labor room.
Doctors do not allow a woman to eat during labor, apart from a very few new-age doctors.
Most doctors prescribe to the doctrine that labor is unpredictable and a perfectly normal birth could require a C-section in a heartbeat. If a mother had gulped down some food earlier she may aspirate or cough and choke on the food she ate during the operation.
11 Opt Out Of Baby Fetal Monitoring
According to Baby Center, fetal monitoring is where the nurse or medical practitioner check the baby's heartbeat rate to find out how he is coping with the mother's contractions. The reason most women these days are opting for birth centers is the chance to have a say on what is pumped into their body or strapped to it. The minute a woman in labor gets to the hospital she is given an IV as a precaution for any emergency that could occur during labor. If it does, an IV will already be in place and meds can be pumped in without any delays.
The fetal-heart-rate monitor is also a must during labor to monitor the baby throughout labor. All these devices attached to a mother make the mother more anxious than relaxed and some women have been known to get a spike in their blood pressure. The monitor also has been known to increase the number of mothers who wind up in the surgery room even though they could have had a successful normal birth.
10 Have Dad Catch The Baby
Some men would have a cow at the thought of catching their baby during birth, but for some adventurous souls who are so involved in the journey of their wives pregnancies, they prefer to be there every step of the way. What better way to do this than to catch the baby when he ‘drops,' cool right? Unfortunately, hospitals try to as much as possible to curtail the possibility of a lawsuit in case the dad freaks out and drops the baby. The only places that allow this crazy practice are birth centers and of course in a home birth this can fly.
While hospitals will allow the dad to assist in the birth, they do not allow this one aspect, preferring to let the doctor handle the baby straight after birth.
This allows the doctor to conduct any medical interventions on the baby that may be necessary at that time.
9 Deliver A Breech Baby Naturally
Most women do not go for a scan or medical exam right before labor. Even if there are complications, some doctors are deeply opposed to examinations, forcing the pregnant woman to go into labor blind. Most doctors insist on a medical exam and scan to tell the position of the baby. It is during this time that a doctor will tell you that your child is in the right position or that your baby is in breach. A breech baby is one who is facing up with the feet presenting first instead of head down.
In most cases, measures like a massage are done to encourage the baby to change position and face down. In case they do not, all hope is not lost as some have been known to change position during labor to a face down one. It is possible to deliver a breech baby successfully without going straight to the operating theater, but all too many don't even give the laboring woman a chance to deliver the baby this way.
8 Take A Shower
When a woman is in labor, all she wants is something to ease the pain. Since a water bath is out of the question, most women find taking a shower can ease the pain. Unfortunately, the sensation of water running down the woman's back can be so soothing that when the time comes to push, she may push in the shower, causing her to drop the baby.
It is for the same reason that a woman in labor is not allowed to use the bathroom.
Tales have been told of women relieving themselves only to see the baby drop in the toilet bowl. These tales seem unbelievable, but so is the birthing experience. For hospitals to mitigate these random accidents, they do not allow baths during labor. The only time a woman can shower is after the birth, but not before.
7 Have A VBAC
There is this pesky campaign by women who had a vaginal birth where they spend their days making the women who opted for a C-section feel like they are less of a mother. Having a vaginal birth has even been labeled ‘normal’ alluding to the fact that a C-section is abnormal. The pressure to conform and need to find out what it is that makes the other women feel so entitled is what makes most women who went through a C-section want to try for a vaginal birth.
ConsumerReports.com notes that while VBAC is normally a safe option, most hospitals have a policy against a vaginal birth after C-section, popularly known as a VBAC. The requirement by the government is that a full surgical staff is present throughout if there is someone attempting to have a VBAC. This is a costly endeavor for the hospitals and hospitals are in the business of making money, not wasting it.
6 Delay Cord Clamping
This is a fairly new concept where most people insist that the umbilical cord should not be clamped until the cord stops pulsing. According to Metro.co.uk, 40 percent of newborns have their cord cut at the wrong time. It is recommended that blood is allowed to transfer to the baby maximally from the placenta to the baby prior to the cord being cut. Even though the benefits for this are undocumented, it has been said that about 1/3 of their blood level is transferred from the placenta to the baby at this time.
Allowing the placenta to pulse is, therefore, beneficial to the baby and it has been known to reduce the baby getting anemia at a later time.
Most doctors do not allow this though and the cord is clamped immediately after the baby is born.
Some doctors agree to let the cord pulse upon request, but some just ignore the request.
5 Jump Into The Water
Water birth seems like a cool experience and some of us have probably been tempted to go for it. For those who have had the guts to go through with it, the rave reviews are that the water bath is soothing, with the downside being that not many hospitals agree to a water birth or even offer it.
That is why water births primarily happen at a birthing center or in a home birth. Of course, this comes with its own shortcomings, one of them being that in case the pain becomes unbearable, there is no epidural. There is also the risk of something going wrong, necessitating a rush to the hospital that could lead to the death of the mother as well as the baby.
As beautiful as a water birth is on paper, it is not something most medical practitioners advocate for in reality.
4 Use A Birthing Ball
Hospitals are not big on cool new ways of giving birth and for most of them, a birthing ball is a no-no. Birthing balls are a perfect way of allowing the woman to change her position as she labors. A pregnant woman can lie on the ball and have her midwife rub her back through the pain. The upright position aids gravity in easing the flow of blood to the uterus, while at the same time relieving stress on the woman's back.
This would be a perfect way to give birth and it is also beneficial to the mother. And hey, it may probably ease some of a headache that goes with labor, but some hospital policies are still opposed to this, preferring the old way of doing things. Laboring on the back is a painful and slow experience for women and a little leeway would at least make the birth more magical.
3 Move Around To The Beat
When you are connected to an IV drip and a fetal monitor, moving around is impractical and for women, laying on their backs is not really a choice, but a matter of practicality. The more you move an IV, the more chances of dislodging it and this may come with its own complications. While it is recommended to move around a bit during labor, some hospitals prefer to keep women strapped to the bed to avoid any future lawsuits that may come with a labor-related accident.
These hospital policies need to be amended to allow a woman in labor to move into different positions to make the birth go smoothly.
In most hospitals, policies are beginning to be amended with most hospitals allowing a mother to move around with or without aid. As more medical professionals are relaxing with regards to their stringent labor rules, an increasing number of laboring women are also finding the childbirth process a bit easier to handle.
2 Overexert Herself
You have probably seen that video where a woman in labor breaks into a dance in the corridors of a maternity ward and is joined by the medics and nurses. While this is a fun video to shoot and even share on social media, this practice is not advisable. Most women swear that dancing while in labor speeds it up, but the truth is the overexertion tires the woman so much that when the time to really use that strength comes, she is so out of breath that she is unable to push.
While lying down on her back is not such a good practice, dancing around isn't either. The woman would be advised to walk around if she must, at a moderate pace taking caution not to overexert and reducing chances of having an accidental slip on your dancing spree.
1 Look At The Clock
According to Baby-Chick, a laboring mother who has opted for a natural birth is usually too busy counting her breathing and relaxing her muscles and she may not notice the time pass. For a woman who is in labor, looking at the clock makes the woman a lot more anxiety-inducing than it is necessary.
This is the main reason why you won't find a clock in the labor room. Labor seems to take 36 hours, even if it goes for only an hour. Maybe it's because of the pain involved or it could be because you expect to have your baby -- like yesterday. Whatever the reason, labor is as the name implies, quite laborious. If one has a team with her, it is advisable they try to distract her by rubbing her back or helping her breath in and out. This emotional support goes a long way in passing the time.