We recently attended a 2-day intensive childbirth education workshop located in the upper west side. The class covered a wide range of topics including: anatomy, nutrition, partner as a coach, stages of labor, contractions, inductions, c-sections, pain management techniques, new born procedures, etc… The class was taught by a certified childbirth educator, who has participated in over 420 births as a labor support doula – she definitely knows what’s going on and was able to provide some amazing and unique insight having experienced so many births. Originally I was a bit skeptical and didn’t think I needed it given we have the many pregnancy books and did our own research already. But looking back, all in all it was very worthwhile and very informative. Below I highlight my key take-aways.
Btw, the wife is a little over 6 months preggers now.
1) Best time for partners to comfort the mother is between contractions. Not much you can do in terms of comforting during contractions. But in between, be positive, make eye contact, make sure mother is hydrated, and ensure getting rested and able to relax in between contractions.
2) Massages that have worked in the past: double hip squeeze (getting behind and pressing hips together) etc…
3) Baby positioning during labor: when a baby’s back is against your back, it leads to longer labor, more pain. Offered some advise on how to get the baby to turn the other way to better facilitate the birth. Make sure mother is not lying on the back at all if signs of “back labor”.
4) Sounding: if mother is making high-pitched sounds, partners job is bring the sound lower – high pitch sound means mother is squeezing and there is tension – objective is to find ways to loosen up the body and the cervix.
5) Breathing: proper breathing is critical. The instructor said that prior to giving birth she thought that proper breathing was going to be easy for her given she was a yoga instructor and a Broadway show singer – however, she got her butt kicked during contractions. She did an exercise where husbands wrapped their arms around a certain part of the stomach and squeezed and asked the mom to breathe – said that this would provide a favor for what it would be like to breath during contractions.
6) Water is suppose to be the mid-wives version of epidural. During contractions, take a bath and/or shower – it’s suppose to relieve pain. Even try taking showers in the hospital.
7) Stay hydrated. Some hospital nurses will try to tell you not to drink – however, studies have shown that mothers will recover faster when hydrated via small sips – make sure partner reminds mom to pee often (frequent peeing is VERY IMPORTANT).
8) How do you know when its time to go to hospital: “she said that you just know”… you can tell. No way to describe it… you just know it. She has seen instances when the water breaks, and mother doesn’t go into labor until 2 days later and other instances where water breaks and baby comes soon after.
9) When your water breaks it is something that occurs over a couple of hours – not just all at once and done. Keep an eye on the color – need to notify doctor if u see “meconium staining”.
10) Epidural – get it when you need it (it is never too late or too early). If you don’t need it, then don’t get it. She has seen people get it even after the mother is effectively 10 cm dilated and has also seen a lot of people get it when they are 2 centimeters.
11) Inducing labor – try to avoid it if possible. High correlation between C-section and inductions. Her take is that from what she has seen, if the body isn’t ready to give birth then it is not ready – inducing just accelerates the contractions – but the dilation tends to move slowly. Wu’s perspective: worse case scenario in our minds. Being induced – going through hours and hours of labor and then having C-section anyways…. Then why not just go straight into c-section (instead of being induced)??? Thus, if we are late – and doctor says nothing wrong or danger to baby, then we will try to wait as long as we can – and then face the C-section vs. Induction question.
12) C-section: ok for the baby but not great for the mother. Told us that Columbia Presbyterian, although a great hospital with nice facilities, specializes in high risk pregnancies and thus has a high c-section rate..
Prior to the class, we were 50/50 on a planned C-section vs. natural birth. My full time job is a risk analyst, so I tend to look at things from a risk/reward perspective. C-section sounded so easy – just 45 minute procedure and hospitals do so many. I know its considered major surgery, but so is taking out an appendix, tonsils, etc… Thinking was, why bother going through 10-30 hrs of delivery and then potential for C-section anyways. But then you hear sometimes how much the recovery part hurts after a c-section. When you speak to people that have gone through it, you hear that birthing hurts and also recovery from c-section also hurts…. hmm… no way around it i guess. Any additional thoughts?