Peace of Mind: Knowing and Preparing for Birth Risks

Part of being a good parent is knowing what could go wrong even before your child is born. Some expecting mothers might avoid reading about birth risks because it induces anxiety, but that same anxiety can morph into crippling fear as labor and delivery fast approaches.

Rather than being fearful, consider adopting a stance of awareness. Preparing for the worst or even just the undesirable doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen. While it’s only natural to be scared of what could go wrong in the delivery room, learning and preparing for birth risks can help give you a peace of mind and reduce stress so you can truly enjoy the experience of bringing a new life into the world.

What Are the Most Common Birth Risks?

Most of the time, labor and delivery is an uncomplicated process. Even if something does arise, doctors and nurses are well-equipped to handle any situation quickly. However, it can help ease some of your nerves to read up on typical things that can happen during childbirth.

Prolonged Labor

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It’s not uncommon for some first-time mothers to be in labor for days, but a prolonged labor is attributed to slow dilatation, a large baby, the delivery of multiple babies and even stress or anxiety. How to Prepare: Practice relaxation techniques during labor such as walking, deep breathing, sleeping or bathing.

Fetal Distress

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If a baby is under distress before it’s born, a condition known as fetal distress can occur. This can be a result of several factors such as anemia, which is a decreased number of red blood cells, insufficient oxygen, overdue pregnancies, low levels of amniotic fluid or meconium-stained amniotic fluid.

How to Prepare: Understand the process of diagnosis and treatment; if there are signs that a baby is in distress during labor, doctors might perform a fetal blood acid test. In other cases, they may recommend a C-section.

Perinatal Asphyxia

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Perinatal Asphyxia can occur before, during or shortly after birth due to a lack of oxygen. During labor, doctors may notice a slow heart rate and determine that a baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen. To combat this, a mother will be given oxygen to compensate.

How to Prepare: Understand the risk factors of perinatal asphyxia, ask your doctor about how they would handle the situation and learn about the process of an emergency C-section.

Shoulder Dystocia

pregnant woman with hands on her belly

This birth risk occurs when a baby’s head is delivered vaginally but the shoulders remain stuck in the mother.

How to Prepare: Read about episiotomies and other birth assistance treatments to resolve shoulder dystocia like manually turning the baby, bringing your thighs to your stomach and applying pressure to the abdomen. The improper handling of shoulder dystocia can lead to muscle and nerve damage and, in some severe cases, brain damage or death. Speaking with birth risk lawyers like Snyder & Wenner, P.C. before delivery may help put your mind at ease and give you reassurance in the event of a birth injury.

How to Lose Fear of Childbirth

happy pregnant woman

Childbirth is a scary thing for most mothers, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed or weak for being terrified. A few things you can do to reduce this fear is to ask questions. Talk to your doctor as well as family members and friends who have delivered babies. Hearing their stories and knowing that they’ve most likely felt exactly like you do can help qualm a lot of nerves.

Understand that babies are stronger than you think, and many of the worries you have about something going wrong during childbirth aren’t necessary. Women’s bodies are designed for this and know what to do when labor starts; you just have to focus on pain management and making the experience as comfortable for you as possible. After all, lower stress and anxiety levels make your baby more relaxed and can make birth much less painful.

Having a child, whether it’s your first or fifth, is a life-changing experience. Your thoughts and feelings may change from scared to excited at a moment’s notice, but welcome each one and accept them for what they are. No matter what your mood might be, the greatest thing of all is the life growing inside of you, and the precious baby you’ll have in your arms before you know it.

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