To a certain extent, I understand why our society still questions how a woman gives birth, because for a very long time, vaginal birth was the only way women were known to give birth. So much folklore, proverbs and several means of transferring cultural values have been created around it, that other means are still being viewed with suspicion, even in 2017, or sometimes regarded as an “easy” route, as though women should be “sufferheads”.
I have heard this kind of conversation several times, sometimes from new dads and sometimes from relatives, who are breaking the news of a birth to friends and family.
“My wife has given birth oh!!” said with a happy smile in the voice.
“Yes, I won this round! It’s a boy.”
The new dad would continue; “But ehn erm, she had a C-section because the labour was getting too long and the doctors were worried” or “Ehn, she was very fearful ojare, but we sha thank God, mother and child are fine”
This last part said in a subdued tone, as though it is sad news he has to relate.
I had vaginal births both times, even though it had nothing to do with what I did or didn’t do, although I know that one of my momma’s prayer point while I was pregnant was that I should not have a c-section, especially the second time, even though there were no indications for it. It was just one of those things she kept hammering on.
For those like my momma, there are certain things that a pregnant mom can do to increase her chances of having a vaginal birth, which we will discuss in this article.
One of the things that can help is Don’t gain too much weight:
As long as the numbers on the scale don’t get out of control, it’s okay for a pregnant mom to indulge in occasional cravings. Still, some women manage to go overboard by eating for two, and becoming less active than they were before conceiving, which is really dangerous for both mom and baby.
It has already been proven countless times, that gaining too much weight typically increases the size of your baby. While having a big baby isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can make labour harder.
Large babies have a tough time getting pushed out naturally, and often making a last-minute caesarean section necessary.
True, mothers in ages past weren’t educated about the details of childbirth. As for them, experience was the best teacher. However, that doesn’t need to be the case now.
Women who would like to have vaginal birth need to know about the whole process as much as possible. Attending ante natal class is important; reading the materials provided by your doctor cannot be overemphasised, as well as asking questions about unclear parts.
The more knowledge at your disposal, the more you are prepared to have a vaginal birth.
For my first time in the labour ward, I read all I could find about childbirth, and even till the morning of the day I gave birth, I was still reading, and it helped in no small ways, in addition to the other “wisdom gems” my mommas had passed on.
I threw those and the books out the second time though, and winged it, based on experience. It was easier, but I think the fear of childbirth the second time was a lot worse.
Start the way you mean to go:
If you are aiming for vaginal birth, and one with little or no medications, then you need to set off on that note from the very beginning of your pregnancy, provided you have the all-clear from your doctors.
If you don’t have any particular health problems, then opt for fewer tests, treatments and interventions during your pregnancy. Obviously, some tests are important for every mother, but many are entirely optional. If it’s not needed, you can do without.
It has been proven that women who have little or no interventions during pregnancy are most likely to have low intervention labour and birth.
Grit your teeth and spend early labour at home
Have you ever heard of pregnant women being sent home from the labour ward because their labour was not progressing as it should? I had that fear the first time and was actually surprised that I was admitted rather than sent packing.
I saw some women being examined and sent back home, but instead I was asked to lie on my left side and let nature take its ruthless course with my body.
Going to the hospital too early when you start feeling the contractions opens you up to the possibility of a non vaginal birth. When labour starts, try to move around, eat and drink and go for walks…if you can.
And when your contractions are consistently less than five minutes apart and getting stronger for at least a couple hours no matter what you do, then you can move on to your hospital.
When you go to the hospital earlier, and you are howling in pain, doctors and nurses are more than likely to suggest means to take the edge off the pain, and in that state, you are more than likely to say yes.
Use your prenatal education
All the education you have been getting about vaginal birth is for moments like this. I know, book knowledge flies off your mind at times like this, but if you have been practising, then you should be able to recall your breathing exercise, change positions (if allowed), get a massage, listen to music, and do whatever it takes to get you through this phase.
Now, these tips are only for a woman who is determined to have a birth that is as close to nature as possible. Not medicated, no interventions, just childbirth in all of its raw glory. That woman would have the presence of mind to do these things.
If you are not that woman, kindly do what works for you, as long as it results in a healthy baby and momma.
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