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For those of you that are getting ready to deliver during the pandemic, I just want you to know that in these unprecedented times, you can still have a beautiful birth experience while maintaining safe labor during the pandemic.
Delivering a Baby during a Pandemic: What to Know?
As a current nurse with many years of hospital experience, the nurses and doctors are working hard to ensure that your labor and delivery will be as safe and comfortable as they can make it. Nurses are wearing full PPE and are leaving their masks on the whole time. Your labor and delivery staff is responsible for two patients, you and baby, and are dedicated to ensuring you and baby will be happy and healthy.
Here are 5 steps to prepare for a safe labor during the pandemic:
1. Be Empowered
I have given birth twice and I can tell you that each pregnancy and delivery was completely different but equally beautiful!
It is important to learn as much as you can about labor and delivery so that you can know what to expect. Knowing your options will allow you to plan ahead of time and to inform your labor and delivery staff of your choices so that they will be prepared when you are ready to deliver
You may find prenatal Bootcamp classes helpful. Most hospitals offer free classes. I can’t speak for all of them but I can say from experience that the free hospital classes can sometimes be watered down. I truly believe you get what you pay for and those classes are informative but they often don’t truly prepare you for what’s to come.
Don’t get upset if things don’t go as planned.
“I went in feeling pretty prepared the first time. I watched a lot of birth videos, read books, did active birth courses and researched positioning exercises. My water broke on my due date without having contractions. I called my OBGYN office and they told me it’s time to go to the hospital. I was set on having a natural birth but because my contractions hadn’t started I was given pitocin. After about an hour of being on pitocin my contractions were strong.
My birth plan basically went out of the window. I was very disappointed about having to receive pitocin and the contractions were so strong that after 7 hours of labor I caved and got an epidural. Once the epidural started I fell asleep.I was so, exhausted to the point that when it was time to push my husband and the nurse had to basically shake me and yell out my name to wake up to start pushing.
I opened my eyes and was awake enough to follow instructions. I felt no pain, the room was dim lighted, calm, and quiet. The midwife placed a tall mirror at the foot of my bed so that I could see my baby’s head. All we saw was a thick head of beautiful curly hair. We were so overjoyed. My daughter came out healthy, awake and very alert.I was lucky that my first birth was great. I will say that even though I took the free hospital course, read books, and exercised. I still went in not knowing what to truly expect.
The second time around, I was worried how I’d cope if it went differently to what I knew. I did more and I was much more prepared. My midwife was Amazing! She totally empowered me and gave me the instruction that I truly needed.I learned to exercise and stretch the right way.I ate very healthily with my first pregnancy but with my midwife’s instructions, I was able to take it to a whole notha level.
I did the squat challenge from the diary of a fit mommy, who also has awesome recipes and dietary recommendations as well. I went to a physical therapist during my first pregnancy but during my second, I went to a chiropractor that specialized in prenatal adjustments. My chiropractor recommended spinning babies which totally prepares you for labor.
Spinning babies is a MUST Read. It guides the baby into the optimal position for birth and it prepared me to have a smooth delivery. My labor was much faster the second time around, only 3 hours. I urge you to do your own research on anything you are worried about. Empower yourself with knowledge so you feel like you can make your own decisions.
2. Get your mind right
When you are pregnant it seems like every one wants to tell you a bunch of horror stories. Try to remember that for every bad experience, there is many more positive stories to tell.
This can be hard, escpecially if you had a bad experience previously. Try to think positive, many experienced mom will tell you that positivity makes a BIG difference.
“Something that really helped reduce my fear was hearing positive birth narratives. I felt very encouraged by all of the positive birth stories and even followed some of their methods they used to prepare themselves for a safe and healthy delivery.” After reading so many positive birth stories I walked away feeling courageous, like. I think I can do this!”
3. Prepare your body
My midwife told me that labor is a marathon and often requires strength and stamina, so it’s important to prepare your body for it. If you want to be prepared for safe labor then I recommend spinning babies, they help you get your baby in a good position before birth, teach you positions to help you through labor, and provide some relaxation techniques.
Exercise during pregnancy can also be a great way to de-stress. Again, I have to send praises to Diary of a Fit Mommy, she totally rocks. She has a ton of prenatal exercises that are totally helpful. She even has a prenatal guide with exercises for each trimester. Any type of exercise is good though. If you don’t have the time or money to join a class, just going for a walk in the park will be beneficial.
Find out more about a healthy diet and exercise in pregnancy with Diary of a Fit Mommy.
4. Just Breathe
Using breathing techniques can help calm your nerves and control the pain, it also delivers more oxygen to your baby. You can practice breathing techniques throughout your pregnancy so that it will be easier to implement during labor and your partner will know how to coach you through your breathing.
Believe it or not, you can actually forget to breathe during labor. My husband and nurse actually had to tell me to breathe several times. It can be a natural reaction to hold your breath!
Learn some relaxation and breathing techniques so that you can have safe labor. I didn’t do a hypnobirthing course, but I did find some great guided meditation and breathing videos on youtube that I found to be extremely helpful. I was able to implement them even as my labor pains progressed.
Having a personal playlist of music is another great idea. I used it during the early stages of my labor, it offered a great distraction from my contractions.
Even if your labor doesn’t go the way you planned you may still be able to use the techniques you’ve learned.
There are a few methods to help with relaxation and prenatal aches and pains. Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture may help. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy are all great options. Just make sure they are fully qualified and experienced with prenatal care.
5. Get Your bag ready
Having a thorough checklist will help ensure you are well prepared for safe labor during the pandemic. You don’t want to have to pack while you are in labor. Just imagine all the important things you will forget. If I hadn’t had my well-packed bag ready ahead of time, I probably would’ve just grabbed my bag and forgot to even pack. With a good checklist, you won’t forget to pack the little essentials like your technology.
During COVID times, technology is becoming even more important. This will allow you to share the experience with your family. Due to coronavirus hospitals are only allowing one support person. So bringing a tablet or smartphone will allow you to zoom or facetime with friends and family and show of your beautiful healthy baby. Instead of packing on a big bag, I suggest you pack two small bags.
One for labor and one for postpartum. This was a tip I got from my midwife and I totally learned by experience. With my first, I packed everything in one duffle bag. I was well prepared but it was too much to sift through and I found it hard to keep my bag organized. With my second I learned what was truly essential and what wasn’t.
I packed a small bag that I brought with me to the hospital and I left my postpartum bag in the car. That way after I deliver My husband won’t be stuck toting too much to the recovery room. After we got to the recovery room, my husband went to the parking garage and exchanged bags. It was as easy as that.