One of the biggest decisions about the big day is how mom will choose to have her baby. Will it be a vaginal birth or a cesarean section delivery? Will there be an epidural or not? It’s important to discuss all of the options with your doctor before the big day so that whenever possible, you can make the right choices for yourself and plan ahead for your delivery. With proper planning and effective medication, mom can be as comfortable as possible.
Vaginal Birth Pain
• Narcotics such as Demerol, morphine, Stadol, Fentanyl, and Nubain are given by injection and help take the “edge” off of the pain.
• An Epidural is the most common form of anesthesia and is injected into the area around the spinal cord. DRMC has 24/7 anesthesia coverage, so the epidural is always available.
• A Spinal Block is a less common procedure where narcotics are injected directly into the spinal column.
• A Pudendal Block provides quick pain relief to the perineum, vulva, and vagina as the baby moves through the birth canal.
• Local anesthesia is primarily used at the end of labor to provide pain relief for an episiotomy (a cut in the perineum to help in delivery).
• Patterned breathing can calm and relax you while providing a sense of control during contractions.
• Relaxation techniques such as listening to music or having your partner massage you can help sooth you.
Understanding Cesarean Section
During a cesarean, the baby is delivered through an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus. It’s important to know the differences between a cesarean and a vaginal birth as each has its benefits and risks.
Here are 5 important facts about cesarean deliveries:
1. Anesthesia. Unless there is no time, you are usually given an epidural or spinal block as anesthesia. That means you can stay awake for the delivery, although the surgery itself will be blocked from your view.
2. Recovery. A cesarean is major surgery which will require a longer hospital stay and recovery time.
3. Blood Loss. You lose more blood during a cesarean and as such may leave you more tired and in some cases you may require a transfusion.
4. Scar Tissue. You will have a scar on your abdomen and you may have scar tissue that could affect future pregnancies and deliveries.
5. The Baby. The baby may have some breathing problems but don’t worry. The delivery room staff will rub the baby to restore color and movement and perhaps provide supplemental oxygen.
TOP 5 Things Dad Should Bring to the Hospital
1 The Pregnant Mom
2 The insurance card, identification, and all necessary paperwork
3 Video or digital cameras with backup batteries and chargers and memory cards
4 Cell phone and contact list
5 Entertainment for the waiting periods, such as: laptops, MP3 player, iPad, etc. (Remember, this isn’t really a good time to catch up on work or sort out your emails. Focus on Mom!)