How to Make Difficult Decisions During Labor
Having to make difficult choices while you’re in labor may be one of the hardest and most frustrating things you’ll have to do. Before consenting to certain procedures during labor, you’ll want to know exactly what you are consenting to.
Many moms don’t ask the correct questions–the ones that get them the answers they need before making big decisions. The following steps will assist you in asking the right questions–to make the best decisions regarding care of you and your baby.
11 Steps to Make Difficult Decisions During Labor
1. When a doctor or nurse suggests having a procedure done, ask exactly what the procedure is and how it’s done.
Many times, we don’t know exactly how something is done and we consent to it anyway. It is very important that you know how it is performed and if it will be painful or uncomfortable to either you or the baby.
2. Ask why this procedure is being suggested.
Is it a timing issue? Is it because your doctor thinks that your labor won’t progress without it? Or, is it being done out of convenience?
3. Ask whether it is an experimental or new procedure.
This is really important when it comes to using certain types of medications to start/stop or augment labor. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly developing new medications and you have the right to know if you’re being the medical experiment.
4. Ask how it will affect your recovery.
For instance, if you receive an epidural, you have a chance of experiencing back pain after birth. Make sure you know how it may make you feel.
5. Ask how the procedure will affect you, the baby and your labor.
Will it speed things up or does it have the potential to slow things down? If it is a medication, what are the effects on the baby? What will happen if this procedure or medication hinders your labor?
6. Ask about the alternatives to this procedure.
What else can you try? If you need pain relief, what about using natural coping mechanisms like hydrotherapy or Lamaze techniques, or other non-invasive things?
7. Be sure that you know the benefits of the procedure.
What can it potentially do for you and your labor? How often does this procedure work the way it’s supposed to?
8. Many doctors and nurses are quick to boast about the benefits of different procedures, however, they shy away from the risks.
This is important. You need to ask about the risks of anything you have done to you. What are the risks of elective inductions, elective cesareans, pitocin, epidurals and forceps delivery? What harm can it do you? What can happen to the baby?
9. Ask if this certain procedure happens to all women or is it specific to your situation.
You’d be surprised at how many procedures are routine at hospitals.
10. Ask if this procedure can be delayed.
What harm is there in waiting? For instance, breaking the amniotic sac. Does it really benefit the mother to have it ruptured at 2 or 3 centimeters dilated? Or, is it better in your situation to wait until you are 7 or 8 centimeters, or perhaps let it break on its own?
11. Ask what will happen if you just let your labor progress without doing anything to it.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave things alone. Labor, especially for a first time mom, takes time. If there are no complications barring necessary interventions, just leave it alone.
Tips and Warnings
- Always approach the nursing staff with respect. Respectful questions have a better chance of getting respectful and honest answers.
- If you have a true emergency situation, there may not be time for decisions. If this happens to you, make sure that you speak with someone after the birth to gain clarity.
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