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Lots of women opt for vaginal delivery when considering birthing options. Watch this video to learn more about the ups and downs of vaginal deliveries.
Transcript: Delivering your baby is a rush, but it can also be a little bit scary. Remember that babies have arrived...
Delivering your baby is a rush, but it can also be a little bit scary. Remember that babies have arrived vaginally since the dawn of time, and that two-thirds of American babies still debut this way! The first-time mom can expect to labor for about fourteen hours, while repeat moms tend to take around eight. But because labor CAN last a few days, it helps to be prepared! Childbirth begins with labor, a three-stage process. The first stage of labor has 2 phases, latent and active phase. Latent labor is the longest phase and lasts from a few days to a few weeks. During latent labor, your cervix will dilate about three centimeters, a process that results in mild, brief contractions, which are spaced five to twenty minutes apart. Your amniotic sac MAY rupture now, but it's more likely that your water will break once you're in the hospital. Expect to notice discharge, known as the bloody show, and to experience back aches and cramping. At the end of latent labor, the active labor phase begins and you'll head to the hospital. During active labor, which usually lasts for several hours, your contractions will strengthen and occur about every three minutes. Try to stay as comfortable as possible during this period. Don't be afraid to ask for a back rub, or for help walking through a contraction. During the active phase of labor, you'll start your breathing exercises, if you plan to use them. If you're having a medicated birth and have not yet done so, you might ask for pain-relief now. At this point your cervix will open past four centimeters and labor will quicken. The result is very strong contractions which last about a minute and are spaced quite closely together. This part of your labor can be VERY intense, and you may experience nausea, fatigue, chills or sweats, and strong pressure in your lower back and rectum. Once your cervix is fully-dilated to ten centimeters, your labor will end and it will be time for stage two of childbirth: the delivery! To push your baby through the birth canal, a process that can take 60 minutes to several hours, you'll get into your preferred birthing position. Following the instructions of your doctor, you'll push as if you're having a bowel movement with each contraction. And don't worry: Your bowels and bladder may empty, or you may vomit, and that's normal! Between contractions, you'll rest and conserve your energy for that next push. Soon, your baby's head will appear, or crown. Once the head emerges fully, your doctor will suck mucous out of your baby's nose and mouth, and then guide him or her the rest of the way. The umbilical cord will be cut and your baby will be in your arms! But YOU'RE not done! It's time for stage three of childbirth: delivery of the placenta. This usually doesn't last longer than 20 minutes and is accompanied by mild contractions. Once the placenta is delivered, your doctor will stitch up any tears and you'll be free to nurse and cuddle your new arrival. Congratulations, Mom!More »
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A Cesarean section delivery often occurs if there is a labor or pregnancy complication. Get details on what happens during a C-section.
Transcript: If your baby is delivered by cesarean section, you're not alone: About 30 percent of babies born in the...
If your baby is delivered by cesarean section, you're not alone: About 30 percent of babies born in the United States make their arrival this way! So why might a C-section be necessary? Some women walk into delivery already slated to have a cesarean. These high-risk moms may have placenta problems, a breach presentation baby, a multi-fetal pregnancy or have had previous uterine surgery. Women who are HIV-positive or who have an active genital herpes infection may also require a C-section, so as not to pass the virus on to the baby. More frequently, though, a C-section is not scheduled in advance. If a woman's cervix doesn't dilate properly, or if the baby's head is too large to fit through the pelvis, a cesarean section becomes necessary. Other in-the-moment problems can also lead to emergency C-sections, such as fetal distress, a ruptured uterus, or a too-exhausted mom. So what happens during the procedure? First, anesthesia is administered. Most often, you'll get an epidural or spinal block, which numbs the lower half of your body, while still keeping you awake. If you're having an emergency C-section, there may not be enough time to numb you, in which case you'll be put to sleep with general anesthesia and wake up with a baby! Once numb, a catheter will be placed in your bladder and a drape will rest on your abdomen. This is so you don't have to see the incision. The doctor will make a horizontal cut just above your pubic hair line to start your C-section. Then, your baby will be lifted from your body, no worse for wear, and without the pointy cone-head of babies born vaginally. Your surgeon will then cut the umbilical cord and stitch you up, a procedure that can take up to thirty minutes as each layer of tissue is mended. The recovery from a cesarean section usually begins with three days in the hospital followed by six to eight weeks of rest at home. Because a cesarean is a major medical procedure, your mobility may be limited as you recover initially. You may also experience similar symptoms to moms who deliver vaginally, including cramping in your uterus, bloody discharge, and fatigue. Of course, as you wait for your post-surgical symptoms to pass, you can enjoy getting to know your new arrival, a worthwhile reward if ever there was one!More »
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When you go into labor, you may have to consider getting an epidural. Check out this video to learn all about epidurals, including their pros and cons.
Transcript: About half of all women who give birth in a hospital receive an epidural for pain relief. The goal of...
About half of all women who give birth in a hospital receive an epidural for pain relief. The goal of an epidural is to provide analgesia, or pain relief, rather than complete anesthesia, which is total lack of feeling. Epidurals work by blocking nerve impulses from your lower spine, in turn causing decreased sensation in the bottom portion of the body. Because a standard epidural seeks to provide pain relief, it's often combined with a narcotic medication, like morphine or fentanyl. An epidural can also contain MORE narcotics and LESS anesthetic, a procedure known as a combined-spinal epidural, or walking epidural. Although the pain may sometimes be greater with walking epidurals, some women prefer them because they may allow more personal control over pushing. Many physicians recommend that you enter the active phase of labor with the cervix dilated at least three centimeters before you get an epidural AND you must usually receive about a quart of intravenous fluid to prepare for the procedure. At that point the epidural catheter, a small tube, can be inserted into your epidural space. Epidurals provide pain reduction and may make labor easier for you, and the advantages with respect to pain management are quite clear.- If your labor is particularly long, an epidural may also let you get some much-needed rest. Also, you'll be fully present at your baby's birth since the medication does not sedate you. In terms of the disadvantages, epidurals MAY temporarily make pushing more difficult for you. In addition, about 1 to 3 of every 100 women who has an epidural can develop a severe headache in the days after the procedure, which usually gets better and can be treated. In about 10% of cases, an epidural may ALSO cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly, which may temporarily reduce blood flow to your baby. In addition, the epidural may cause temporary side effects that can include shivering, ringing of the ears, backache, soreness where the needle is inserted, nausea, or difficulty urinatingSome mothers may wish to consider the potential effect of epidural anesthesia on newborns. Most medical research indicates that there is little or no medically significant effect of epidurals on newborns, while some studies suggest limited and temporary changes in newborn temperature and breastfeeding behaviors. For most women, the option of epidural anesthesia can provide pain relief during a difficult and stressful labor, with fairly limited risks. Despite the risks, many women weigh their options and decide that a pain-free labor and delivery is the way to go-and most doctors approve. As with all important decisions in pregnancy, discuss this with your obstetrician- preferably BEFORE you go into labor.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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So, you've delievered your baby. But what next? Find out more about your hospital stay after birth by watching this video.
Transcript: So now that you've delivered your little one, what can you expect from the remainder of your hospital...
So now that you've delivered your little one, what can you expect from the remainder of your hospital stay? Congratulations! You're now ready to begin getting to know your new addition, and bonding with your baby. If you plan to breastfeed, you will usually start doing so within one hour of delivery. To help you get the hang of nursing, the hospital will send a lactation consultant to your room. Post-delivery, your doctor will come to check on you at least once, while nurses will monitor you around the clock. Provided your baby is healthy, you will be able to keep her with you for the rest of your stay. You'll also have the option of sending the baby to the nursery when you need a rest. Within 48 hours of a healthy vaginal delivery, and 96 hours of a healthy C-section, you and your new family will be able to leave the hospital. Remember, you need to install an appropriate car seat IN ADVANCE, as some states require this before you can drive home!More »
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Your options for delivery pain relief depend upon what mode of delivery you choose, vaginal birth or C-section. Take a look at this video to find out more about epidurals, spinal blocks and anesthesia.
Transcript: While every pregnant woman will feel some pain when in labor, managing it is a personal decision. The...
While every pregnant woman will feel some pain when in labor, managing it is a personal decision. The choices differ somewhat for caesarean sections and vaginal deliveries. Almost 50 percent of C-sections are unplanned. When time is of the essence, a doctor may provide an anesthetic known as general anesthesia. With this intense medication, a mother falls asleep and wakes up after her baby is born. Another anesthetic, the epidural, is gentler and more commonly used. An epidural is different from other anesthetics in that it is injected directly into the epidural space in the spine. This means that the medication doesn't enter the bloodstream, but rather, the spinal fluid. It therefore bypasses the baby and numbs the lower half of the body only. A spinal block provides this complete numbing of the lower half and is used in caesarean deliveries. For women delivering vaginally, a combined spinal epidural, which provides numbing but still allows the use of the legs, may be an option. Women who do deliver via the tradition route with an epidural, may have trouble pushing. Some also experience nausea once the medication wears off. Some women opt, not for an epidural, but for an intravenous medication that can lessen some pain. Popular choices include morphine or stodol. Because these medications enter the bloodstream, they can affect the baby. He or she might be born sleepy, and may have difficulty breathing. However, these effects are usually short-lived and treatable. A host of other pain-relief remedies may help, too. Some women swear by acupressure or acupuncture, whereby points on the body are activated to release pain-blocking endorphins. Others use hypnosis, which relaxes them so deeply they may not feel discomfort. Massages, hot water bottles, and soaking in a tub are other pain-relief techniques that may help. Some women decide to forgo medication and have what is known as a "natural childbirth." These moms-to-be rely on breathing, visualization, partner coaching, and other natural methods to deal with labor pains. For women who choose this route, a birthing plan can help them decide among the many different coaching options. One of the most popular techniques is Lamaze, which is taught to couples in a series of courses. The Lamaze method focuses on breathing techniques for labor, while emphasizing the value of one-on-one support from a partner or coach. While Lamaze doesn't draw a firm line against pain medication, another technique, the Bradley method, embraces the idea that childbirth should be drug-free. This method teaches relaxation and focuses on breathing methods to help a delivering mother tune in to, not distract from, her pain. No matter what method you use to give birth, remember that there is no RIGHT way to ease labor and delivery pains. Talk to your partner, as well as your doctor, about what may be best for you!More »
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Are you excited about becoming a dad? Staying with your wife during delivery can be an exciting experience. Watch this video to learn about dad, sex, and the delivery room.
Transcript: Ian: You know, guys are really happy to be in the delivery room. We want to be part of the joyous experience...
Ian: You know, guys are really happy to be in the delivery room. We want to be part of the joyous experience of the birth of our child but there can be some posttraumatic stress. Some guys claim to have seen' Logan: I'm rolling eyes at you by the way. mIan: I know, women don't like' you went through it, right. You had to deliver the baby. How dare we feel any trauma or stress. Logan: And no, it is not so much a how dare you. It's if you don't talk about these things in advance. Guys, you have to talk about this thing in advance. Where you're going to stand in the delivery room. Because you don't want to hurt your partners feelings if you're delivering this baby and he says, 'Ew, I'm not going in there.' Ian: I think that every couple should watch a video of a birthing of a baby. Because there really is a big difference between sort of standing next to your wife, holding her hand, which I did one time. And the other side where you're with the doctors, and I did that too. I loved that part, it was definitely intense. I mean this is a real issue. One patient of mine was like it was like Apocalypse Now in there. Logan: Oh my goodness, it's not like Apocalypse Now. Ian: No, its not. But it can leave residual traumatic memories if a guys not expecting it. Logan: If you're not prepared for it. The whole idea is that ideally the partner is there throughout the pregnancy to have these check ups, talk to the doctor about what the expectations are. Ian: Like I said, I think just watching the video. And its really important for all the guys out there, your wives, your partners they really did go through a lot having that baby. They have a lot of things to worry about in terms of getting their sexy self esteem back. Logan: So don't make them feel badly. Ian: I agree. You have to buckle up, get back in there, maker her feel sexy, and have some sex. Logan: All of that and I would say know that you can change your mind. My husband and I had this debate if he would stand above or below the Mason Dixon Line. He might have started by my head but you want to be involved, you want to be part of it. If you don't that's okay too but talk about it in advance. Ian: It is an amazing experience wherever you ate watching the birth. And for more on sex in the baby years, go to goodinbed.com, check out the book Sex During the Baby Years, or watch more in this video series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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It's important to be totally prepared for your baby's delivery. Get a checklist for hospital delivery by watching this video. m
Transcript: You've given a ton of thought to your new baby. But do you know what to expect on delivery day? Once...
You've given a ton of thought to your new baby. But do you know what to expect on delivery day? Once you arrive at the hospital to give birth, you will check into the labor and delivery unit. After you change into a hospital gown, your nurse will hook you up to a monitor that tracks your contractions and your baby's heart beat. will then start an IV, draw blood, and request a urine sample for testing. At this time, you'll want to tell the nurse about your delivery plan, whether you intend to breastfeed, and if you plan to participate in cord blood banking. Throughout early labor, the nurse or doctor will perform regular checks of your cervix to see how far it has dilated. If you choose, a doctor or anesthesiologist can also give you pain medication during the labor and delivery. Your partner can stay with you throughout the process, except if and when you receive an epidural, or if and when you are prepped for a C-section. Now you know what to expect from your hospital stay, so you can arrive there feeling confident.More »
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