Who would have thought it? There are more choices for birth and pregnancy preferences than if I were a child in Willy Wonka’s factory!
It really is a minefield and needs to be sorted before you go into labour. We are in the process of discussing the vast decisions and choices that face us. Many of which we had no idea were even options, let alone choices. For this reason, I felt that this post is crucial and hopefully helpful. If you want labour to be the best it can be for both yourself and your partner, then some of these choices are really important to A) have sorted in your own mind but also B) communicated to the midwife somehow.
So here they are. A list of the various choices you’re faced with for labour.
Hospital or Birthing centre or home birth?
The Dad Network thinks: It is 100% personal preference. If you are of a nervous disposition or concerned about various things, it’s probably best to have your mind at rest and be with the specialist midwives and doctors in the hospital. A birth clinic is midwife led, so if they don’t have any medical intervention. Should something happen, they rush you to the hospital. Your midwife will be present at a home birth, but again, if something goes wrong, it could be a long wait for the ambulance. We’re heading to our local hospital.
Do you want to be induced if you’re over due or wait and see what happens naturally?
The Dad Network thinks: Why wouldn’t you be induced? I know that there will always be that question of, ‘I wonder when my baby would have been ready to come out?’ But against the level of discomfort… I’m firmly in the induction camp!
Do you want to delay clamping the cord or clamp & cut it straight away?
The Dad Network thinks: Word on the street says that after birth there is still some goodness in the blood in the cord. They say it is worth keeping the cord attached for a few minutes so that it can all get out and into the baby resulting in the baby receiving more iron and other goodies. Apparently, it only takes a few minutes and studies say that the effect can help the baby for months to follow. I know that dads are particularly keen to cut the cord, but waiting a few minutes to help the baby out I think is doable. The consideration is how your decision here affects some of the later choices…
Natural physiological delivery of the placenta or managed active delivery of the placenta via an injection?
The Dad Network thinks: It can take up to 1 hour 1/2 to deliver the placenta after birth. I personally cannot think of any reason why you would want to wait that long to deliver the placenta, especially when a small injection can speed it up dramatically. The only side effect of the injection is a headache but in all honesty, the mum will have just passed a football through her vagina…a headache seems like a drop in the ‘pain’ ocean and that’s assuming you haven’t already got a headache which is more than likely anyway!
Planned caesarean or not?
The Dad Network thinks: I’m not sure why this is even a choice… Surely, unless there are medical (including psychological) reasons why you can’t, I think a normal labour is better.
Should you have a CTG monitor to monitor your baby or ask the midwife to use the handheld doplar?
The Dad Network thinks: A CTG monitor is where you have 2 straps around your bump monitoring yours and the baby’s heartbeat. I think it’s a good idea when you first arrive to the hospital but if everything is fine, all it does is restrict your movement and I’m sure you know from my other post, but moving around is really good during labour. Standing up, walking, kneeling, in water, on a birthing ball… and all this would be very tricky whilst strapped to a monitor. There’s also the thought that these machines can cause anxiety because you can hear and see the babies heartbeat. If the sound or sight of that heartbeat changes it can cause unnecessary concern because the baby’s heartbeat does change during labour.
Do you want to have pain relief or keep it as natural as possible? Gas & air? Pethidine? Epidural? Water Birth?
The Dad Network thinks: Whatever you feel you need! I kinda think that you should aim to do it with as little as possible, but if you need gas and air, have some gas and air. I do wonder if people neglect the idea of a water birth though. I think that this can really help with pain, so why not give it a go.
Do you want skin to skin contact immediately when your baby is born or have them cleaned first?
The Dad Network thinks: Skin to skin sounds good to me. Research seems to think that skin to skin immediately helps regulate the babies heartbeat as it tries to match yours and it also comforts them as they know your touch, voice, smell etc already.
Do you want an inny or and outy belly button?
The Dad Network thinks: Definitely an inny!
I don’t think I even knew about any of these choices before I went to NCT classes. And now I do know, my head hurts! I mean, I thought that you just go in and the midwives do their thing. It is important to know the answers to these before you have to make the decision though, because in the moment you don’t want to make a bad call and end up with regrets. There is a health warning with this; my advice is to talk about some of these decisions in good time, don’t try and do it all in one go. Your brain will implode!
I’m just off to have the belly button discussion now; the wife’s in the outy camp, so if you don’t see any new posts in the next few days, you know it didn’t end well!