Tag: delivery

The Truth About Labour – What Are They Doing to my Baby?

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: What Are They Doing to my Baby?

What Are They Doing to my Baby?

After delivery, it is always recommended that you have skin-to-skin contact with your baby to allow for bonding. If you are going to breastfeed your baby, the best time to start is within 30 minutes of delivering. Either way, at one stage or another, baby will be taken away from you for the hospital staff to ensure everything is fine.

They may clean her up a bit; they’ll give her an injection of Vitamin K to help with blood clotting, and will administer eye ointment to prevent any infections. They may give her some oxygen if she is a bit blue, and they will also do some measurements – weight, length and head circumference. These are necessary tasks to be done, but your baby will be back with you in no time for more alone time and bonding.

baby umbilical cord

The Truth About Labour – The Placenta

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: The Placenta.

The Placenta

Delivery of the placenta is very easy, and you are largely uninvolved with this part of the delivery. You will most likely be focused on your baby, without realizing what is going on around you.


The Truth About Labour – Your Birth Plan

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: Your Birth Plan.

Your Birth Plan

Your birth plan can change.  It doesn’t happen often, but it is always possible that your birth plan may need to change and your original ideas may not go according to plan. You, therefore, need to be prepared for this. Complications can, and do, happen. In order to be better prepared for this, it is important to go in with an open-mind. By all means, have a birth plan in place and know what you want, but remember that anything can happen.

It is also important that you have a trusting relationship with your Obstetrician or Midwife and believe that they want the best for you, and will help you make decisions in the interest of you and your unborn baby. Remember that although you may want to deliver in a specific way with specific conditions, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that both you, and your baby, are safe, healthy and happy.



The Truth About Labour – Nausea and Vomiting

Often, there is so much information to take in with regards to labour, that many people don’t know the facts from the falsehoods.  Here is the truth about: Nausea and Vomiting.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting is common, particularly in advanced labour as women enter the ‘transitional phase’ where the cervix is dilated 7cm or more. The nausea and vomiting can be caused by the pain of labour, pain medication given during labour, such as Pethidine, and even anaesthetic medication (like the epidural) which causes nausea and vomiting due to a drop in Blood Pressure after administration.

Digestion stops in labour, so if there is any undigested food in your stomach, this is a likely cause of vomiting. It is recommended that you eat light foods in labour rather than having a heavy meal, and be sure to sip water and energy drinks. You may find that sucking on ice chips helps with the nausea, too. Many hospitals administer anti-emetic medication to help stop the nausea and vomiting.

Acupressure can help with the feelings of nausea – apply pressure in the middle of the inner arm, about three finger widths from the palm whenever nauseous, and hold the pressure there until the nausea goes away.

An acupressure point to help ease nausea
An acupressure point to help ease nausea

My Tips for a Successful Birth

1.  Attend antenatal education classes.  The lessons learnt here are invaluable as you will learn everything you need to know about pregnancy, labour and childbirth.  It also provides an arena for you to ask questions and receive immediate feedback.  Most antenatal classes are ‘couples’ classes so that your partner can feel involved and learn about the process too.

2.  Follow a healthy diet, which is proven to lessen the incidence of high-risk pregnancies.  Eating well can also prevent pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness.  Take pregnancy-appropriate supplements and vitamins to guarantee you are well nourished and to ensure your baby is developing appropriately too.

3.  Perform appropriate exercises during pregnancy.  Pilates is a great example of beneficial exercise as it can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help during childbirth.  Exercising in water provides gravity-free resistance with less risk of injury on joints and muscles, while increasing muscle tone, your strength and your flexibility.

4.  Go for regular check-ups with your gynae or midwife to identify any problems and to make sure baby is growing well.  This will help you feel reassured when it’s time for baby to arrive.

5.  Develop your own birth plan.  Your birth plan should outline everything you want and need out of birth and be sure to show this to your healthcare provider.  Your birth plan should cover all aspects, such as whether you want a medication-free birth, what type of birth you’d like, even what music you want playing when you give birth.  Remember, however, that not all births go according to plan – so be prepared to alter your birth plan if required.

6.  Bond with your baby and establish a relationship with your baby, before you have given birth.  Speak to baby, get your partner to give gentle massages, play music for your baby.

7.  Be prepared in advanced.  Have baby’s room ready, and be sure to have all the necessary equipment you’ll need for a newborn.  Pack your hospital bag in advance.  Being prepared will help you feel more calm as your labour nears, and not having a mad rush at the end of your pregnancy is essential to a calm and stress-free experience.

8.  Choose the birth option that suits you best, be it home birth, hospital birth, water birth, vaginal delivery or a caesarean section.  Research all the different types of birth and decide which one you are most comfortable with.  Be informed and make your own decision without being influenced by others.

9.  If you decide on a vaginal delivery, be sure to perform perineal massage to reduce the risk of episiotomy or tearing.  You should also practice Kegel exercises.  These activities will help increase elasticity as well as strengthen and tone the perineum for childbirth.

10.  Formulate your own positive expectations regarding birth.  Don’t expect pain, as you will then experience pain.  Dreading the idea of childbirth is sure to contribute to a negative experience.  Recognize birth as the welcoming of a beautiful and joyous addition into your life.

11.  Have a support person with you on the big day.  Whether your partner, a family member or even a doula, don’t labour alone.  Knowing you have someone to support you will help you relax and feel more confident.

12.  There are a variety of techniques to use during labour to make it easier and more manageable.  Consider massage, aromatherapy, and music therapy to help relax you.   A calm, quiet environment will help you feel more in control.  Water acts as a powerful pain management method.  Climbing into the bath once you’re in the active phase of labour (around 4-5cm dilated) will help greatly with your contractions.

13.  Consider different birthing techniques to help you during labour.  Hypnobirthing is a fairly new concept using active birthing, which alters the way in which you view birth.  For example, you view pain as ‘pressure’ and contractions as ‘waves’.  You allow your body to take over the process of birth.  Waterbirth is becoming more and more popular and provides a quiet, serene atmosphere for your baby to be born into.

14.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Everyone is free to make their own choices, and everyone has different experiences of pregnancy, labour and birth.  Guilt is commonplace with pregnant women.  The important thing is to do what makes you happy and comfortable.  Try not to question your own decisions.

15.  Most importantly, believe in yourself.  Know that you can birth successfully.  Have a positive attitude.  You have essentially had nine months to prepare for the big day.  You can do it!

5 Things You May Not Know about C-Sections

Check out this great article by Sister Lilian on c-sections and a few things that you may not know about them.

What I found interesting is that the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends a maximum c-section rate of 15%.  In South Africa, the c-section rate is a whopping 70% – one of the highest c-section rates in the world.  This is due to a number of factors.

One of these factors is the avoidance of lawsuits.  Obstetricians are the most insured doctors, and often, they will perform caesarian sections at the slightest hint of something ‘abnormal’ in order to avoid being sued.

The ‘caesarian section versus natural birth’ debate is a very contentious issue, but I love the fact that Sister Lilian ultimately simplifies it all into this paragraph.

Of course, most importantly, at the end of the rite of passage that is birth, both woman and child should be safe and well. But, there’s more to birth than only a healthy baby and mother. A woman who feels good about her birth tends to find mothering easier, and there’s less chance of postnatal depression! From Baby’s perspective, it often means better health and less need of therapy to help with milestone development.

Just think before you decide! – Sister Lilian

What does it matter how we give birth – as long as we have a healthy mom and baby at the end of it?  Informed consent, and taking responsibility for your health is vital to ensure the best outcome suited to you as an individual, and as a mother.