No matter what type of birth you’re planning (and hoping) for, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Cesarean section. While the C-section delivery rate recently declined for the first time in 14 years—from 32.9 percent in 2009 to 32.8 percent in 2010—the number of women delivering via C-section in the United states is still approaching 1 in 3, and about 61 percent of those are first-time surgeries, mainly C-sections performed when problems arise during labor.
Jackie is 38 weeks pregnant and has a couple of questions: one that I get a lot and one I’ve never had a reader ask before in all the years I’ve written this blog.
The frequently asked question:
Preparing for childbirth doesn’t just mean hiring a doula and packing your hospital bag; it also means getting ready for what might be the most challenging physical task you’ve ever faced. Improve your odds of having an easier, shorter labor by incorporating these healthy habits during your third trimester:
From the minute you have a positive pregnancy test, you’re counting the days until you meet your baby. All the while, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes. This timeline will provide you with a week-by-week look at what’s going on with you and your baby, as well as reminders about what you can do at every stage to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
First things first
Unfortunately, once you've delivered, some pregnancy discomforts may continue, especially where your back is concerned.
During pregnancy, the body relaxes the joints and ligaments in the pelvis to make it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal; these levels remain elevated for three to four months after delivery. This instability increases the risk of inflammation and joint misalignment, which can cause back pain.
You may be surprised to discover the variations in childbirth classes—some are months long while others last a day; some take place in a hospital and others are conducted in the educator’s home.
Her job description is pretty clear-cut: She’s a registered nurse who cares for the mother and baby throughout labor, birth and recovery. But besides monitoring the mom’s contractions and the baby’s heart rate, she cleans up all manner of messes; adjusts for quirks, temperaments and family dramas; coaches dads and pampers siblings; translates medical-speak; and serves as cheerleader, drill sergeant and best friend du jour. Your labor nurse has heard and seen everything and knows a lot; here’s what she wants you to know.
You may be planning a natural birth, but there are times when your health-care provider must intervene for health and safety reasons. Or you may find that standard hospital practices often include medical interventions. In either situation, it’s important that you be involved in the decisions related to your care. You can do that by asking questions and openly communicating your desires to everyone in attendance.
Between childbirth classes, doctor’s appointments, shopping for baby gear and—oh yeah—a job and other regular life stuff, what mom-to-be has time to exercise? Actually, you do. “Thirty minutes is all you need for an effective workout,” says Susan Hoffman, a trainer and prenatal fitness specialist at Boca Raton Life Time Athletic Club in Boca Raton, Fla.
In the U.S. today, about 4 percent of babies are breech at full term, which means they’re in position to exit the uterus feet- or butt-first rather than headfirst. Before 1959, virtually all such babies were safely delivered vaginally; today, most are born by Cesarean section.
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