As exciting as welcoming a new little one can be, we understand that the unknown, especially with a first child, can be overwhelming. Certainly, information about the process and expectations can be incredibly comforting. With this in mind, last week, we put out the call for your labor and delivery questions. Today, Brandi Acosta, BSN, RN, birth planner and prenatal education supervisor, Parkview Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Parkview Regional Medical Center, is here with the answers.
Q. How much say do I have in my delivery?
A. You have all the say in your delivery. That being said, there are certain medical conditions that require specific actions. Your physician, midwife and nurse will discuss recommendations to provide the safest delivery possible for you and your baby.
Q. What are my options for pain management?
A. We have several options for pain relief aside from medication or epidural. There are labor pain menus and postpartum (after birth) pain menus available in every room. Some examples of labor pain relief include aromatherapy, birthing balls, tub or shower use, massage, breathing techniques and changing positions. During the postpartum period examples include abdominal binders, hot/cold packs, sitz baths, aromatherapy, topical products, music and rooming in.
Q. When is it too late to receive an epidural?
A. There isn’t a magic number in dilation. We always try to get someone an epidural if they want one, but there is a process for getting you ready and that takes time. Sometimes labor moves so quickly that there is not time. When your body is ready for delivery, it is too late for an epidural.
Q. If I choose to work with a midwife, is that the only clinical person in the room?
A. Typically, when a midwife is present there are two other registered nurses (RN) present during delivery. One RN will be there to focus on you and the other will be there to focus on your baby. Occasionally, if there are circumstances where the midwife has asked for extra hands, there will be a surgical technologist there to assist the midwife during delivery.
Q. Who can be in the room for delivery?
A. While you are in labor you may have more than 2-3 people. During the pushing stage and actual delivery stage you may have 2-3 visitors of your choosing present. Any visitors who are not going to be in the delivery can wait in one of our family lounges.
Q. How involved can my partner be in the delivery process?
A. We encourage partners to be involved in every aspect of the delivery.
Q. Can I try natural delivery and change my mind once labor has started?
A. You are free to change your mind at any time during delivery. Keep in mind, in the instance of IV pain medication, it cannot be administered after a certain cervical dilation due to risks to the baby, and it will be up to the physician to approve this IV medication use. Also keep in mind the epidural administration is not immediate. There will be a process for preparing you for the anesthesiologist to do the procedure, this can take some time.
Q. Can I get in water during my labor?
A. Tub and shower usage is per your doctor’s discretion, depending on your current labor status, medical conditions and condition of your baby.
Q. Is it possible that I’ll go to the bathroom while I’m trying to deliver my baby?
A. Having a bowel movement during labor does happen, and sometimes urination occurs also. Many times mothers are not aware that they are going. It is actually a good thing if you do because it means that you are effectively moving your baby down the birth canal and getting closer to delivery. Do not be too worried about this, our staff is here to help you.
Q. Is there something you’d recommend packing for the hospital that a lot of people don’t think about?
A. Many times people forget to bring a hair tie and phone chargers.
Q. Do I have to stay in bed the whole time during my labor?
A. During your labor you are able to move around as long as you don’t have an epidural. We encourage movement because this helps labor progress and moves the baby into position for delivery. We have lots of things that you can use during labor to aid in movement such as the birthing balls. You can also walk in the halls or in your room if that is approved by your physician. There are medical conditions that require bed rest but most pregnancies are able to move around.
Q. What does the first hour after delivery look like? (Do you encourage skin to skin contact, etc.)
A. At Parkview, we have something called “The Family Hour”. This is a special bonding time for you and your new baby. The nurse at your bedside will dry the baby off and then the baby will be placed skin to skin with the mom in the first few moments after delivery. We encourage breastfeeding during the first hour, as babies typically experience an alert period directly following birth. We recommend limiting the amount of visitors you have at this time so that you can focus on the baby and bonding. We have other things that are available during The Family Hour such as a lullaby CD, aromatherapy and dim lighting.