Pregnancy is a very delicate period of time in the life of the mother. Labor and giving birth are the results of this period if everything goes smoothly. However, due to the strain, both psychological and physiological, woman's body undergoes, this process has some risks. And even though no labor can be one hundred percent risk free, there are some factors that can either promote or deter the risk of adverse effects during labor. That being said, genetic factors are untreatable and there is nothing that can be done about them (for now that is, as medicine is always evolving).
Some drastic risks of labor may lead to death, but luckily the percentage for such complications is low and keeps on decreasing every day due to the developments that occur in the medical field. In this article we will not discuss the factors that are uncontrollable by the mother.
The fear and anxiety that every mother has from pregnancy and delivery can be explained by the fear of having a high risk labor. Yet, every woman should remember that high risk labor does not happen to every woman. As a matter of fact, the percentage of women having a high risk labor is very low. This article is aimed at informing the mother about what she can do to prevent high risk labor.
However, even if she doesn’t do some of these things or even if she does all of them, it does not mean that it is certain that she will have labor complications or lack thereof. So, for women who are afraid of high risk labor, they should remember that there is no guarantee for having it as there is no guarantee in totally avoiding it.
15 Being The "Right" Age
Most people will say that getting pregnant while you’re young is best. However, getting pregnant too young is not recommended either. As a woman gets older, the body becomes weaker (after the twenties). The optimal age for pregnancy is when the woman is between the ages of twenty and thirty five.
During these ages, her body is mature enough to handle the stress of the delivery and young enough to overcome the damage that is caused to it. However if a particular woman decides to have a baby before that age (eighteen for example) there is no severe damage that would be caused to her, but it is not advised, especially if her family has a history of death during delivery. If the woman is older than thirty-five years, then complications such as bleeding and trauma may occur. This is caused by the decrease in the adaptive mechanism of her body, the age of her eggs, and the condition of her uterus.
14 Eliminate Vices
You already know that excess consumption of caffeine or alcohol is strictly forbidden during pregnancy due to their harmful effects on the baby, and as a result on pregnancy and labor. But in pregnancy, not only can certain things harm the baby, but things that are not that harmful may cause complications during labor. For example, mom-to-be should stay away from castor oil due to its side effects on the bowels, and the last thing that the mother needs is another problem during this time. And certain herbal preparations may induce toxicity, thus further complicating the labor.
On the other hand, some drinks may help during labor especially isotonic drinks as they regulate the balance of the minerals and water in the system. Even if mom-to-be is not hungry she should eat a small snack before labor, especially in the first phase to save some energy for later.
13 Getting Pressure Under Control
Normal blood pressure is essential to a low risk labor. Increased blood pressure increases the risk of bleeding. The higher the blood pressure, the harder it is to stop the bleeding. Low blood pressure is also considered as a risk factor. The optimal blood pressure is 120/80, although slight deviations are acceptable. Pregnant women will have ups and downs of blood pressure because of the hormonal cycle that she has. Unfortunately, pregnant women are not advised to consume blood pressure regulating drugs because they are capable of crossing the placental barrier and thus affecting the fetus.
Woman with high blood pressure are at a high risk of developing preeclampsia, which can be detrimental to both mother and baby. One study suggests that protein stops blood vessels from growing in the placenta. Preeclampsia is a combination of high blood pressure and protein in the urine. This can result in impaired kidney and liver function and cause blood clotting. So, it is important that mom-to-be who has a family history of high or low blood pressure be checked frequently to make sure that her blood pressure is within normal limits.
12 Avoiding Stress Triggers
Stress during labor is considered as a very negative emotion that the mother may experience for a prolonged period of time. Stress causes the activation of special nervous systems in the human body called the sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for contractions of the muscles.
Stress has been proven to have a negative effect on both the mother and the fetus. In case the mother is subjected to a lot of stress during pregnancy, then labor complications may arise. Complications such as premature labor and delivery have a significant negative impact on the baby. Remember that premature and prolonged labor are not preferable for the mother. The fetus is able to sense the negative environment around it, so stress may cause emotional problems to the fetus, in addition to the physical and mental problems that the fetus may have as a result.
11 Don't Eat For Two
Mothers have to remember that they really don’t need to eat for two, but they have to provide nutrition for two. Too much eating may lead to obesity, which would complicate labor. Not enough eating may lead to malnutrition for both mom and baby and could also lead to anemia, which is a problematic state to the mother during labor.
Generally, the mother should keep her body prepared and fit; this is tricky because mom-to-be's appetite is increased and she often feels tired and sometimes even depressed, and doesn’t want to do anything. She has to overpower those feelings and at least walk on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes. Physical exercises, if done in moderation and properly, can be a preventive factor against high risk labor. Physical exercise improves the blood circulation and in turn provides better oxygenation and metabolism to both the baby and the mother.
10 Get Your Greens
Fruits and vegetables are a very important source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have a very good nutritional value and help in the overall regulation of mom-to-be's metabolism. Keep in mind that everything should be eaten in moderation. Make sure that all the produce you bring home is thoroughly washed prior to eating. Boiling, steaming, or microwaving will preserve nutrients. The more cooking, the more nutrients are lost.
Fruits are essential to the pregnant woman, yet some fruits may cause an allergic reaction. Each mother knows what suits her best and what vegetables and fruits may cause problems for her. Each body reacts to fruits and vegetables in a subjective way and pregnancy time is not the best time to experiment with new ones.
9 Put The Hairspray Down
The presence of fresh clean air is necessary to maintain the wellness of the inner maternal medium and the sufficient supply of oxygen. Environmental pollutants range between acoustic, respiratory, unsafe food products, and many others. It is possible to say that more than a single type of pollutant carries responsibility for provoking risky labor. This can be attributed to the over-stimulation of the internal medium of the mother’s body.
Pollutants can be more damaging where the expectant mother has already entered a phase of labor, and she happened to be exposed to pollutants; this would provoke her to feel more discomfort, handicapping the flexibility of labor and delivery. There are certain pollutants that are easily avoided, such as exposure to cleaning products and aerosol sprays - so if you're cleaning your floor to induce labor, or doing your hair to look good for meeting baby for the first time, double check that what's in the bottle is safe first.
8 Avoiding Too Much Work
Sustainable comfort is an inevitable requirement for the aim of maternal and fetal wellness. There is no harm in doing gentle activities and work that consumes minimal calories without causing exhaustion. Workaholics are always advised to stop being workaholics, especially if they are pregnant, or even hoping to get pregnant. Even for pregnant women who are not workaholics, it is important that she not work herself into extreme fatigue. Mom and baby need adequate rest for both to thrive.
Prolonged working is thought to be productive, yet it is not when it becomes detrimental to the individual’s health. Exerting a huge effort to try and accomplish any task such as job-related or housework, has to be discontinued. The work can be delayed for some time, no matter what it was. Exhaustion as a result of high exertion during work exacerbates the risks of starting labor in case it is already about to begin. It also may lead to its early sudden onset.
7 Don't Pill Pop
Some daily supplements may cause toxicity to the fetus even if they do not cause damage to the fetus. The inactive chemical compounds may harm the fetus even if the active chemicals in the medicine have no effect on it. The inactive compounds have a tendency to be stored in the fetal tissues and may be the reason for fetal mutation. In addition to that, almost all medicines have side effects and even if the mother did not suffer from any side effects before she was pregnant, due to the changes in her physiology she may have several side effects now.
That being said, if the mother has a medical condition that she needs medication to control, she should not stop taking her medicine. Stopping necessary medication could put her health in danger and therefore the fetus would be in danger as well. This includes any herbal supplements as well. Always tell your doctor everything you are taking and get their okay before taking anything over the counter.
6 Check Your Chompers
Most probably you would ask “what is the relevance?” A fair number of people just don’t associate their dental health with their overall health. But, as a matter of fact, there is a relevance. Stated previously, there no place in the maternal body that is exempted from being involved in influencing labor. The dental regions are included, too. It has been estimated that the presence of a gingival or dental infection can initiate the same sequel of complications, which arises in the case of uterine infections. So it can be confirmed to be somehow relevant to preterm high risk labor.
Dentists declare that there is a reduction in the percentage of high risk labor in expectant women who had undergone dental check-ups and treatments during their pregnancy. They recommend attending them not only before conception and after birth, as so many female patients do. They emphasize the maintenance of personal oral hygiene on a constant basis.
5 Finding Positive Motivation
This point is kind of tricky; psychology has a lot to do with either easing or complicating labor. Psychological motivation can decrease the sensitivity of pain receptors by mechanisms that are not fully understood. Motivational talks are evident in causing a better labor as they affect the psychological state for mom-to-be. Thinking and acting in a positive manner can help avoid a high risk labor. It may sound silly, but when a person thinks positively about something, they will inevitably do the right things to provide the outcome they want.
The lack of motivation increases the effect of negative feelings, thus causing more perceived pain. The other effect of lack of motivation is postnatal depression. The hormonal state during this time in the woman’s life can be affected by the psychological state of the pregnant woman. Both estrogen and progesterone cause feelings of anxiety, sadness and mood swings, and it can be somewhat easy to feel down unless a conscience effort is made to be positive.
4 Staying Heart Healthy
Cardiovascular diseases are a danger not only to the mother, but also to her fetus. The unfortunate fact is that cardiovascular drugs have the ability to cross the placental barrier, thus affecting the circulatory system of the fetus. This effect tends to complicate labor as it promotes bleeding if the pregnant woman was taking anticoagulation medicines (treatments for hypertension, pathological coagulation of blood, etc). If the woman is taking coagulation medicines, then a risk of blood clotting in the fetus may cause many problems to both the fetus and the mother.
If the mother is untreated then she may have problems in her health that would only be more complex due to pregnancy. This contradiction that the mother would face is only complicated by the pregnancy and labor physiology. Any cardiovascular disease would cause a pathology on the main organ that has to withstand a very high demand which is the heart.
3 Treating Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is one of the major diseases that complicates labor. Diabetes mellitus affects the whole physiology in the human body. It can arise from a deficiency of the production of insulin, increased consumption of sugar or a deficiency in the receptors. The problematic event in diabetes mellitus in pregnancy is its transformation to gestational diabetes.
This condition is usually linked to prior diabetic disease and cannot occur (usually) on its own. The exception to the prior statement is if the hormonal balance in pregnancy cannot be achieved due to another hormonal disturbance or if the mother is consuming a lot of sugars and they are not burning those calories. Some factors may help or increase the risk such as obesity or some forms of tumors (especially those that develop in specific glands). Genetics is also a determining factor as to the age of the mother when she conceives the baby.
2 Get Your Thyroid In Check
Any hormonal disturbance may cause increased sensitivity to pain (both physical and emotional). Pregnancy is hard to occur in cases of hormonal disturbance due to the delicate tuning that the whole process needs. However in rare cases, mom-to-be's body tends to lose its tuning due to the hormonal storm that occurs in her body. This is caused by the preparation of the body for the delivery as it has to decrease the secretion of certain hormones and increase the secretion of others. In addition, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is started to initiate the contraction of the smooth muscles that are found in the uterus.
Unfortunately the activation of this system is accompanied by the secretion of hormones. This effect is negated by the negative feedback mechanism that the human body has. Some people have a tendency to have a margin of sensitivity. This is generally a genetic disorder of the endocrine system that mostly affects the thyroid gland. Women who have family history in this disease are advised to have the thyroid checked before getting pregnant.
1 Being Vigilant
The best advice for mom-to-be is to be vigilant. She is advised to know all of the dangers and avoid them. Things like delayed labor or episodes of pain are never a good sign. She has to take care of what she is eating and to observe both her mental and physical states. If she feels that there is anything amiss, she should contact her doctor.
In cases of depression or severe sadness she is advised to try to figure out what the cause is. Things such as chocolate and brownies has been proven to have a positive effect if consumed in moderation due to their activating specific parts of the central nervous system. Other things such as exercise and yoga have positive effects too, due to the harmony that they induce between the mind and the body. If the woman feels tired all the time then she must consider to eat a more healthy diet and to get adequate amounts of sleep.