Birth Complications: How to Handle Complications During Laborby Elizabeth MacDonald
You may have an idea of what you would like for your birth experience. Hopefully, you have prepared by taking more than a day class, as it will drastically increase the odds of you having the birth you want.
Education is truly the key.Make sure that you have read all about the possible ‘complications’ that may arise during labor (HERE and HERE). Once you have done so, you need to talk to your birth supporter about your wishes if any of those situations arise. While all that matters in the end is a healthy mom and a healthy baby, there are so many ways your labor can veer off the desired course.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Most births are normal. Most ‘complications’ are not truly complications when labor is concerned, and may be part of the labor your body and baby needs.
- Talking kindly to the birth team will help keep everyone as close to the same page as possible.
- A doula may be a great support.
- A healthy mom and a healthy baby entering labor typically have the cards stacked in their deck. By staying healthy throughout pregnancy, you increase your chances at a healthy, natural birth.
- There are no guarantees that everything is perfect, but if there is time to talk about options, there is time to make educated decisions.
- Every labor is different.
- Your support person during labor should be the one talking to the doctor about options and keeping you as happy as possible.
Questions to AskIf a complication arises, there are three questions that your support person should immediately ask:
- Is Mom ok?
- Is Baby ok?
- What exactly is the problem?
Take the time to really listen to what the doctor is telling you. Ask questions and write things down. Once you have the information, consider talking alone with the mother before making any decisions. Keep your birth plan in mind and things that you both view as priorities. (Examples: Some women would rather give in to electronic fetal monitoring before losing the ability to walk around. Some will allow forceps use before a c-section occurs.)
Things to Consider with Complications
- Is this a true complication or could something else be factoring in?
- How much time do we have before a decision must be made? Can more time be found?
- Could this complication be normal for my partner?
- What intervention would be used to aid in the complication, and what could the intervention lead to or complicate?
- What are we afraid of with this complication?
What are all the options?
Keeping the Labor Positive
Birth trauma or postpartum stress can stem from complications that the mother then questions after the birth is over. Knowing all the facts and options will help everyone support your decisions, but even more than that is the importance of keeping a positive birth environment. If your partner’s birth plan is not what actually takes place, how can you help her handle it in a positive way? This question can only be answered by you. You know her better than anyone else, so you know how to keep her stress level down and her outlook positive. The one thing I do recommend is reminding the mother that together, you both have listened to the problem, discussed all options and made the best decision for this birth.
Were you faced with a complication in labor?
Looking back, what do you wish would have been done differently?