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7. How often do you perform inductions? What are the main reasons you perform them? Is there anything you know about me and my baby that might suggest I would need an induction?
Due dates aren’t an exact science. Even if you and your care provider feel sure about your date, every baby matures at a different rate. Inducing labor can mean your baby is born before he or she is ready. Labor should only be induced if it is more risky for your baby to remain inside than to be born.
Studies have consistently shown your risk of having a C-section nearly doubles with induction with your first labor. It also increases your baby’s chance of being born premature. Your best chance of avoiding an induction is by finding a health care provider who uses them sparingly. Lamaze childbirth education classes can also give you many strategies to help labor start on its own.
8. How will you monitor the baby’s heartbeat during labor?
We all want to know our babies are doing OK. Using the same thinking, most care providers will monitor your baby’s every heartbeat during labor using electronic fetal monitoring, or EFM. However, EFM can mean you are confined to a bed and not able to use gravity and movement to advance the birthing process.
Studies show that a baby’s heart rate can be monitored just as safely with a nurse, doctor or midwife regularly checking in to listen at key points in your labor with a Doppler hand-held monitor or something similar. Talk with your health care provider about whether they use intermittent listening so you can move freely, relax between contractions, and avoid the anxiety that comes with being tied to a machine. Ask whether the nurses on staff will use it too.
9. Will I be able to move around during labor, or will I be confined to bed? In what position will I be giving birth?
Contrary to Hollywood’s portrayal of labor, lying on your back in a hospital bed is not the only way to give birth! In fact, walking, moving around and changing positions throughout labor makes the birth of your baby easier.
Movement is a natural and active way of responding to the pain of childbirth. When it comes time to push, staying off your back and pushing with your natural urges can be key to making it as easy as possible on you and your baby. Find out if your health care provider will encourage you to stay mobile.
10. Will my baby be kept in the nursery or in my room?
In many hospitals, it’s standard procedure to separate mom and baby for periods of time. However, research has shown that it’s best for mom and her healthy baby to stay together after birth.
Skin-to-skin contact helps your healthy baby stay warm, cry less, and be more likely to breastfeed. In fact, interrupting, delaying or limiting the time that mom and baby spend together may have a harmful effect on their relationship and on successful breastfeeding. Talk to your care provider and ask if they support “rooming-in ,” which will maximize your time with your little one, as well as opportunities for breastfeeding.
This and more resources can be found on the Lamaze Push for Your Baby website.
Lamaze International, www.lamaze.org, promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices. Lamaze serves as a resource for information, based on the most current medical advice, about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Giving Birth with Confidence is the Lamaze blog written for and by real women and men on topics related to pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. The Lamaze Push for Your Baby campaign provides expectant parents with the support and information needed to spot good maternity care and push for the safest, healthiest birth possible.