Thursday, February 23, 2012

Preparing for Childbirth - What to Do Before the Big Day

Whether it’s a first pregnancy or a fifth, preparing for the experience of childbirth and bringing a new life into the world is filled with nerves and excitement. It is no wonder why with your body flooded with hormones, aching muscles and joints, and a new little person kicking and stretching in an ever-shrinking womb. Arranging as much as possible before delivery can offer some security and a give you an outlet for all of those nesting feelings.

Create a Birth Plan

A birth plan is simply a description of your preferences and requests during labor and childbirth. The birth plan should be discussed your medical caregiver throughout the pregnancy and adjusted as the pregnancy progresses to take in account anything that has come up. The plan can be added to your medical chart so you don’t have to repeat your wishes over and over during labor.

Creating a birth plan allows a mother to think through the childbirth process more completely while in a calm state. The plan will help a mother and her medical team to make decisions easier if and when the time comes. Some things to consider:

● Preferences for a pain medication during labor.
● Preferences for an overdue baby. Wait or induce labor? Discuss preferred induction techniques.
● Preferences for a breech baby. Attempt to manually coax the baby to turn or schedule a c-section?
● Preferences for a prolonged labor, complications with mother or baby, and discuss preferred necessary interventions.
● A printable birth plan questionnaire can help you organize your wishes.

Attend a Childbirth Class

Particularly for first time moms, a childbirth class taken during the last trimester of pregnancy can give a mother an idea of what to expect during labor and childbirth as well as explain some of the options, interventions, or complications she may face. A childbirth class isn’t only for first time mothers, however; it is a valuable refresher class for any experienced mother and a great place to learn about new options available during and after labor.

Immediate Prenatal Care

The main event, labor and delivery, is often the focus during pregnancy. Beyond preparing a nursery and buying diapers, the baby’s care soon after birth may be overlooked. If a new mother has specific wishes for the care of her newborn it is important to have them written down for caregivers.

● Feeding preferences, for example, does mom want to breastfeed or bottle feed and what formula, if any, is preferred?
● Some mothers are choosing to collect their baby’s umbilical cord blood after birth for cord blood banking. The cord blood is saved at a banking facility for possible future use. The stem cells found in cord blood have the potential to treat a number of diseases.
● If the baby is a boy, will a circumcision be done, and if so will it take place in the hospital or when the baby is older as an outpatient procedure?

Having many decisions made and questions answered before delivery day, an expecting mother can go into the day focused on staying relaxed and enjoying the arrival of their new family member.

This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact her via twitter @moorekm26.