Labor has no expert; no woman can say that she is an expert at labor. It is the most unpredictable situation a woman can ever find herself in. A pregnant mom should attend all her prenatal clinics, reads all the books and stays healthy for the sake of the child she is carrying. A good mom knows that eating right and exercising are what will make labor go smoothly. She tries as much as possible to stay active during her pregnancy and consumes a nutritious, healthy diet that aids in the proper growth and maturation of the baby.
Good moms have a birth plan that they adhere to and on the birthday, they go to the hospital in readiness for the birth. Once the process starts, a lot can go wrong and the only way to make the situation go smoothly is to cooperate and as much as possible ensure that one follows the doctor's orders.
Even though we are tempted to say no to some of the doctor's instructions, especially to some of those things that are considered unnecessary like an episiotomy or a fetal heart rate monitor. Good moms are good during labor and here are the 15 things good moms wouldn’t do during labor.
15 Sticking To One Position
When a woman goes in for labor, the first thing that is done is to put in an intravenous, ‘just in case.' The medics are quick to tell her to stay on the bed and even go as far as to strap her down with fetal heart rate monitors. This position is meant to make it convenient for them to keep monitoring the progress of labor, as well as make it easier to do a cervical exam.
This is all well and good but the problem with laboring on the back is that it slows down labor, seeing as one is working against gravity. Staying in one position, and on the back for that matter, can increase the intensity of labor pains. While it is quite inconveniencing for the nurses to help a woman who is on the move and keeps changing positions, it is their duty to make sure they cope with whatever makes the mom comfortable.
A squatting mom is more comfortable and is most likely to cut her laboring time since in this case gravity will be on her side. Even though most doctors will not allow alternative methods of labor apart from the labor on the back method, a good mother knows that it is her right to demand what is best for her and her baby.
14 Not Breathing Properly
During those birth classes, a woman is taught how to breathe during active labor contractions, rhythmic breathing that is known as abdominal breathing is recommended as it calms the mother down. Labor is scary and feelings of anxiety, as well as fear of the unknown, are plenty. If a woman over breaths or breathes rapidly during active labor, it may lead to numbness, as well as dizziness and hand tingling and in extreme cases, it may even lead to fainting.
As much as a woman wants to calm down, telling herself to stop panicking or to breath this way or that, it is not that simple. What one should try as much as possible is to prevent themselves from holding their breath. A woman in labor can try listening to calming music or lean on a loved one to help ease the anxiety. Instead of performing a jig around the hospital or worrying yourself sick, a loved one can massage your feet if you’re laying on your back or rub your back as you squat on all fours. This will help with the labor. Our loved ones can even help with our breathing exercises. Extensive anxiety during labor leads to problems during birth and can lead to elevated blood pressure.
13 Eating Greasy Foods During Labor
Labor comes with hunger pangs. Just like the period cramps bring a craving for food, so does labor. Even the woman who is vomiting during labor can’t say no to food. Doctors are known for saying no when it comes to food and most hospitals maintain the policy of not allowing the women to eat during labor. Medical professionals equate labor to participating in a marathon. If one wants to run a 5k one is advised to eat light and hydrate. Running on a full stomach is likely to give a person cramps.
A good mom in labor will never eat a plate full of fries or burgers filled with mayonnaise.
A good mom knows that active labor slows down the digestion process and whatever food a woman eats at this time stays in the stomach longer. She knows that greasy food is the most difficult to digest and in case of an emergency, undigested food can be risky as there is a real danger of aspirating while under anesthesia. A good mother knows and has read all the books that say that she can eat during labor that does away with all the old-timey doctors who think this is wrong. She follows this old-timey rule because she knows the end product is what she has been looking forward to for the past 40 or so weeks.
12 Pushing Too Soon
A woman’s body knows what to do when it is time to give birth. No amount of practice and no rule book, no matter how elaborate will ever give the correct direction on what a woman's body should do when it is that time. Even animals in the bush give birth and they do not need a manual and it is quite rare to find dead gazelles due to childbirth. Good moms know this fact and they are also aware that most of these birth issues come from human error on both sides; either from the mother or the medical practitioners. When a woman is in labor, it is customary for medical practitioners to yell at the woman to push and this yelling puts a strain on the mother, both physically and emotionally.
As much as we may want to get labor over with, especially in the second phase as this is the most dangerous and painful, it is also a good idea to wait until the baby is ready to leave his haven before we rudely push him out. If a mother is allowed to wait for the recommended three hours of labor in cases where there are no issues and the labor is progressing well, then she is bound to get that natural urge to push and when that happens the baby will be born with no unnecessary interventions. Obstetrician Lawrence Oppenheimer says, “Personally, I quite like the idea of the self-directed approach, and the clinical evidence shows it is just as safe and effective as directed pushing.”
11 Saying No To Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring
Fetal monitoring is a common practice in most hospitals and refusing to have the monitor strapped on requires a signed waiver from the mother in labor. According to Family Education, while the benefits of fetal monitoring are not entirely clear, a woman is able to hear the baby's heart and there are studies that show that monitoring does reduce the chance of the newborn getting seizures.
This is because, when there is monitoring, the health care providers can tell when the child is in distress or not getting enough oxygen. Seizures are a sign of low oxygen. There is evidence that heart rate monitoring increases the chances of a C-section occurring. This is because with fetal monitoring, the slightest falter in the heart rate makes the medical staff worry and they are likely to order a C-section. The disadvantage of the monitors that it restricts movement and the woman has to labor on her back as the heart rate monitor is strapped to her stomach. Mothers who have low-risk pregnancies may opt not to have the monitor, but having this monitor could be the difference between saving the life of the child or losing it as problems can be detected easier with the monitor on.
10 Going To The Hospital Before It's Time
By the time the journey ends, most mothers are exhausted and they really can't wait to get it over with. The anxiety and the weight reaches a point of no return by the time the woman is clocking 38 weeks. This is where some women start counting down and checking for that ‘show’ with our hospital bag lying at our feet.
By the time their estimated date of delivery (EDD) arrives, some moms are so anxious that the smallest cramp or leak has them rushing to the hospital declaring that they are in labor.
Many women have been known to give birth in vehicles or the side of the road and there are those who have even had the misfortune of delivering in lifts or parking lot. The horror stories notwithstanding, it is still no reason to appear at the hospital too early. Appearing too early leads to unnecessary anxiety on the part of the patient as well as the doctors, and there is nothing as embarrassing as being told you are still not ready to deliver and having to go home. Early arrival is the leading cause of unwarranted early interventions like inductions, as well as artificial water breaking that contributes to C-sections.
9 Asking For An Epidural When It's Too Late
When we were younger and were naughty, our parents would pinch us and believe me, for a pinch delivered in love, that was the most painful thing for a kid. Even in adulthood, a simple pinch even if it does not bring tears to our eyes is not something we look forward to. Imagine having to go through the kind of pain that comes from broken bones, over and over again. For some women who are truly scared of pain, if an epidural can be administered before labor kicks in, we would go for it.
While previously it was best practice to administer an epidural after a woman is dilated up to 5 cm, these days, late epidurals are not recommended as they are shown to slow down labor. If one is planning to have a natural birth, it is advisable to be truly sure about what they want so that they do not get overwhelmed too late in labor and start asking for an epidural. Good moms have a birth plan that they stick to. They know if they plan to have a C-section or an epidural or even go the natural way, and they stick to their decisions to the end.
8 Having No Birth Plan
When a woman gets pregnant all she cares about is taking care of her little one and ensuring that he grows without anything going wrong. A pregnant woman knows that what she eats and how she dresses, as well as the precautions she takes will determine the outcome of her pregnancy. It is this mother who goes out of her way to make a birth plan when it is time to give birth. On it, she gives detailed instructions regarding her wishes, as well as her desires during and after delivery.
While most people do not see the need for this, if a woman goes into the hospital with these instructions, regardless of how far gone in the labor she is, the doctors will consider her wishes and it will determine what can and cannot be used on her in relation to pain relief. If a woman has expressed in her birth plan the need for an epidural, then the doctors will know what to do when that time comes. The birth plan will outline the mother's preference as far as cord clamping is concerned, as well her desire or not to have skin to skin contact immediately after birth.
7 Checking The Clock
Remember waiting for your mom to arrive home from work? She may be 30 minutes away but looking at the clock made the thirty minutes appear like an hour. Women should remember that they have been pregnant for 40 weeks. Labor will take less time but it is still a process that cannot and should not be rushed. If a woman is in labor, constantly staring at the clock makes the situation a lot harder. When a woman is in labor, if she keeps looking at the clock, she will get more and more anxious and the baby will appear to take a lifetime arriving.
Even though labor can be painful and uncomfortable, refocusing one's mind, either to entertaining anecdotes from a loved one or breathing exercises, will make the time go much faster.
What to Expect states that letting yourself focus on something else, can make the time fly. If one has a doula or birth attendant, getting a relaxing back rub or foot massage is bound to make the process much smoother. In case one has opted to have an epidural, one should know that the process will be slower than normal delivery. In her case, she can opt for movies or an exciting game with friends as she waits for labor to progress. In the end, one should remember the prize.
6 Saying 'No' To An Induction
Mothers who have been through an induction will agree that it is one of the most painful things in this world. The pain after induction is out of this world and it is even worse when it doesn’t quite work. Doctors know that an induction is painful and they also know that it should be a last resort. Even though some schools of thought say that induction that is done without any medical reason earlier than 39 weeks is ill-advised, sometimes it is necessary to induce if it is is in the best interest of the mother, as well as the child.
Sometimes pregnancy goes beyond 40 weeks and still, there are no signs of labor. This is a risky situation because the more a baby grows, the less space he has to move around and even grow. As pregnancy gets to the 39th week, the baby's movements slow down and even the amount of amniotic fluid reduces. Continued stay in the womb is therefore not recommended. It is women like this that require an induction. Continued delay is very dangerous for the baby. A good mom knows that the doctor will not order an induction if it was not for the well being of the mother and the baby, and she consents.
5 Not Conserving Energy
Labor comes with anxiety and not many of us can rest or sit still when we are waiting for something, scared or in pain. Labor has contradictory instructions that all need to be followed. Doctors advise that the woman needs to rest and conserve her energy because what she thinks is bad at the beginning of labor will get worse. For the good moms who know the need for rest during this time, they will even be seen sleeping as they await the contractions to get stronger and the real job of pushing starts. Most women who went for their birth classes find that the lessons came in handy during this time and they find themselves feeling a lot more relaxed.
While it may be a tall order to expect the woman to sleep or be calm, it has been proven that a woman who manages to rest and remain calm at the onset is most likely to have a shorter labor and tends to enjoy her experience more. It is even a better way to have that home video where your audience will compliment you on your calm demeanor. Rest is important, as believe me, when the baby comes, one misses those ten minutes of rest during labor, as a new baby signals no more rest.
4 Letting Doctors Bully You
Women are emotional creatures. They get even more emotional when they feel like no one understands them or is listening to what they say. During labor, women tend to feel like they are being bullied or misunderstood. They tend to feel rushed, especially if the medical personnel keep shouting at them to do this or don’t do that. When a woman goes to a hospital to deliver, she should never feel rushed or forced to do something that she does not want to do. The bottom line is that the baby is hers and it is her body.
She should not do anything she doesn’t want to and she should not be forced into unnecessary procedures that make her feel uncomfortable.
A woman's sixth sense is very important and there are those instances when she really cannot stand a particular doctor or nurse. In cases like these, it is her prerogative to ask for another nurse. When a woman goes to the hospital she is a client and like the old saying, ‘The customer is always right.’ If the nurse or doctor is not offering the kind of support the woman expects or had hoped for, then asking for another doctor or nurse should not make her feel bad and neither should the doctors feel offended. During labor, the woman needs to have a pleasant experience and labor is bad enough physically without making it hard emotionally.
3 The Labor Scream
Labor brings pain and with pain comes the kind of noises that if she were to be recorded, a woman would never believe that noise came from her. Making noise is encouraged as it helps with the progression of labor by continually putting some pressure on the diaphragm. Screaming happens when the mother is too scared and overwhelmed such that she starts to lose control. This screaming does not help as it will irritate a woman's vocal cords making her release pressure from above while what is required is for her to release from below.
For an experience that most women want to treasure and even document, it is imperative that the woman does not scream. Rather she should be encouraged to make grunting noises and in the end, the experience will go much faster and watching the video will not be akin to watching a horror movie. Even though labor is truly painful, sometimes if someone feels the pain is too much then having some intravenous drugs to make the process easier can be an option. Some women opt for epidurals, but this should be done a lot earlier, but one should note that epidurals slow down the labor.
2 Fighting The Process
There are moms who have a beautiful birthing experience and people will envy her. When a woman is in labor, there are those who are so composed and have everything so well wrapped up they leave us in awe. Watching some women scream and curse, a person is left wondering, why are these other women so calm and why do they have everything so well put together? According to Baby Chick, when one mother was asked why she was so calm, said “I kept telling myself to surrender my body to the experience and allow the labor to open my body and not fight the process. I wanted my labor to be quick, so I let my body do what it needed to do.” When one is in the throes of labor, the body gives cues on what to do and what not to do.
Women are now advised to change positions each time they fell the position they are in doesn’t feel comfortable to them. Women who feel they the need to be touched or massaged should ask their partners. Remaining calm and confident is beneficial and this is why good moms have such an easy time, because they go with the flow and do as their bodies dictate.
1 Overexerting Yourself
There is an old wives tale that one needs to stay active and walk around a lot during labor. According to We Have Kids, it is impossible to walk oneself into labor. While it is true that when a woman is upright and changes positions as often as possible, she will be a lot more comfortable and gravity, in this case, favors her. An upright position helps with better positioning of the baby, thus speeding up labor. However, it is equally important that the woman rest as much as possible and not spend all of her time walking the halls of the maternity ward in hopes that it will speed up the process.
For those of us who have been through labor, we can attest to the fact that it is very important to rest intermittently as the end of labor requires a lot of energy.
During active labor, resting will not slow down labor. Rather it will save the energy needed to push the baby out. If one sleeps in different positions, it will promote proper positioning of the baby.
There have been pictures of women on the Internet dancing while in labor in a bid to speed up labor and a lot of women have tried to recreate that scenario hoping against hope that it will help make their journey that much smoother. While the pictures are entertaining, a good mother would never overexert during labor.