Q: I would like to deliver my baby in a position that is more comfortable for me. Do I have to be confined to a bed to deliver at the hospital?
A: With some careful observation and assistance, most women who are not at risk for complications can choose how to deliver their babies.
Your birth team, which might include your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), midwife, nurses and your support person, can help you meet your goals for labor and birth with minimal interventions.
What makes you a low risk for complications? It can vary depending on your individual circumstances and what your doctor might propose.
For example, if your cervix stops changing during labor and you need Pitocin to augment your contractions, you will need continuous electronic fetal monitoring, even if you are otherwise low-risk.
If you have a high-risk factor, such as a previous cesarean delivery, but you want to try a vaginal birth, you might need some medical interventions to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your baby.
Discuss your goals with your doctor. She can then determine what interventions are completely necessary and which are negotiable.
First-time moms are considered to be in active labor when they have dilated 5 to 6 centimeters. If you have expressed a desire to avoid pain intervention and you have had a low-risk pregnancy, your physician might advise you to wait before going to the hospital. This can minimize unwanted interventions.
Most women may deliver in a position that feels most comfortable. If you need continuous monitoring, your doctor might use a wireless monitor or an internal monitor. This will allow you to move around to be more comfortable.
Your support person or persons can make a difference during labor. One-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, can improve outcomes for women in labor.
This can include shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries and greater satisfaction with the experience of labor.
As obstetricians, our goal is always to keep moms healthy and help them experience a healthy baby and safe delivery. We will try to work with you to make your baby’s birth a memorable occasion.
Joanne Price Williamson, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist in practice at Provident OB/GYN Associates at Legacy Center in Okatie.