As the due date gets closer the level of excitement increases and it is typically accompanied by some anxiety especially for first time parents who may not know what to expect. Having a general outline of your wishes or plan for labor and delivery can help mitigate the anxiety. Some labor plans are simple and consist only of the goal of a healthy baby and healthy mama. Other labor plans are long and contain many details. There is no right or wrong way to make a plan, just be aware that the baby will not read the plan and may deviate at any time. Be sure to share your plan with your healthcare provider and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
At which hospital would you like to delivery?
- This should ideally be decided at the beginning of your pregnancy. Make sure that your healthcare provider delivers at the desired hospital. Our office deliveries at Winter Park Memorial.
Who do you want with you in the labor and delivery room?
- Call the hospital to find out if there is a limit on the number of people allowed in the delivery room. Make sure you talk to whomever you would like to have with you whether it be your partner, mother, sister or friend. If you have children at home, make sure you have childcare arranged for when you go into labor.
- If you would like to have a doula, make sure to enlist their services early in pregnancy. They can offer support and guidance during your pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum.
What do you want your room to be like?
- If you desire a specific ambiance or atmosphere in the labor and delivery room make sure you have the supplies necessary and they are hospital approved. Some people find certain scents relaxing and desire aromatherapy. Other people have a relaxing or inspirational playlist to listen to during labor and delivery. To make the room feel more personal, some people bring pillows or blankets from home.
How do you want to labor?
- While many women labor in a hospital bed and deliver laying down, as long as both baby and mom are doing well there are many options for both labor and delivery. Fetal monitoring is typically done continuously so baby’s heartbeat is always being observed however monitoring can be done intermittently or with wireless monitors so mom is free to move around.
- Walking during labor can help ease the pain of contractions and helps facilitate baby getting into the ideal position for delivery. A hot shower during labor can ease the pain of contractions. A labor ball allows for movement and helps open the hips which allows baby to move into proper position.
- There are many options for pain management during labor, for more information please see the blog post Pain Management During Labor.
How do you want to push?
- The most common pushing position is laying down with knees pulled back toward the shoulders. This is the easiest way to monitor baby’s heartbeat and support the perineum which decreases vaginal tears. Squatting allows the sacrum to move and opens the pelvic inlet. A patient squatting can be supported by a lean bar to help her stay upright. Other positions including pushing while laying on the side or pushing on hands and knees.
- Some patients do well when they can see the progress they are making. A mirror can be set up to allow the mom to see the baby’s head as it descends.
- Many hospitals encourage skin to skin after delivery. This means the baby is placed on mom’s chest or abdomen immediately after delivery. The direct contact helps promote breastfeeding, keep baby warm, and stabilizes baby’s heartrate and respiratory rate.
- Delayed cord clamping means that instead of clamping and cutting the cord immediately after delivery, the clamping is delayed. Studies have shown that delaying one minute decreases the risk of anemia for the newborn. Waiting too long allows too much blood to flow to baby however and this increases the risk of jaundice. For more information, please seen the blog post Delayed Cord Clamping. Regardless of when the cord it clamped, cutting it is a time when the patient or someone she chooses can be involved with the birth. Who would you like to have cut the umbilical cord?
- Umbilical cord blood can be used to treat certain genetic diseases and types of cancer. Once the umbilical cord is cut, blood from the placenta in drained into a collection kit which can be stored at a pubic or private bank until it is needed in the future. If desired, please contact a blood banking company such as Cryo-Cell or Cord Blood Registry to find out more information regarding cost and to order a collection kit.
- After an uncomplicated delivery, the placenta is typically discarded. If there are complications with the pregnancy, delivery or if the placenta appears abnormal it is sent to pathology for further examination and testing. There are no health benefits from consuming the placenta. Furthermore, the CDC has issued a statement stating that because of the risk of bacterial infection, the placenta should not be consumed in any form.
- The placenta can still be beneficial after delivery, through placenta donation. Any patient with a planned cesarean section can donate her placenta. Tissue from the placenta is used in eye surgery, treatment of gum disease, wound healing, and sports injuries. To find out more information regarding placenta donation, please visit http://www.placentadonation.com/.
- Do you plan to breast feeding, pump and bottle feed or formula feed? Many hospitals offer lactation specialists to help work through any difficulties and answer questions regarding lactation.
- Do you have a pediatrician picked out to care for your new baby? If so, inquire before delivery to see if your pediatrician comes to the hospital or if your baby will be cared for by another pediatrician while in the hospital.
- If you have a baby boy do you plan to have him circumcised? If so, find out if your pediatrician does circumcisions in the hospital or in the office.