If you have an unexpected complication, take time to talk to your healthcare provider about what has happened and get the support you need.
You’ve had a healthy pregnancy and now you’re waiting for the next phase in this journey: Birth. For most women, birthing a baby is a challenging but uncomplicated event. For some however, unforeseen complications happen.
My Baby is “Breech”
For months you’re been preparing yourself for a vaginal birth but now your baby’s not in the right position, and your healthcare provider is talking about a cesarean. Breech position means your baby’s feet are pointing down and her head is up by your chest.
This is a riskier way for your baby to be born vaginally because her head can get stuck after the feet and body come out. Very few providers are willing to attend a vaginal breech birth these days. If she doesn’t turn as your pregnancy nears term, you’ll be scheduled for cesarean birth. Your baby can always flip at the last minute but there are no techniques based in research that would help you inspire her to go head down. Talk to your healthcare provider about positions that may help encourage her to flip.
My Water Broke Early
Sometimes the bag of waters surrounding your baby can break before you go into labor. Depending on your health, you’ll have different options. You may be able wait to go into labor on your own. Sometimes, though, the risk of infection for you or your baby indicates that labor should begin sooner. In this case, you’ll undergo an induction to try to start your labor. Your nurses will monitor your temperature and your baby’s heart rate. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid putting anything in your vagina. No sex, baths, tampons, etc. Take a walk, eat a good meal, and get some rest. You will meet your baby soon!
I’m Bleeding a lot after Birth
When a woman bleeds too much after birthing it’s called post-partum hemorrhage (PPH). This is usually unpredictable and a very serious condition. Your healthcare providers will try to control PPH with medication, given either as an injection or in an IV. In severe cases other, more invasive steps may be necessary including surgery or blood transfusion.
What if I Tear?
The area of skin between your vagina and anus is called the perineum. This is the most common place for tears to occur during a vaginal delivery. Though it sounds horrible, most women experience small tears during birth that don’t require any stitching. After pushing your baby out, you probably won’t even know they’re there until your provider tells you. If you do need stitches, you shouldn’t feel them since a numbing agent is used if you haven’t had an epidural. The tissue in this area heals very quickly. Contrary to what many believe, perineal massage has not been shown to prevent tears.
An unexpected complication at the end of your pregnancy can leave you feeling disappointed. Take time to relax and reflect afterward, talk to your healthcare provider about what happened and get the support you need.
Did you know?
Every year there are approximately 4,058,000 live births in the United States and 875,000 woman experience one or more pregnancy complications.
Janelle Green, CNM, MSN, is a midwife and mom in Central California. She is also an expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby and Health4Mom.org.