Minimizing Interventions During Labor
Medical interventions were meant to assist the process of birth, making it easier. Unfortunately this has not always been the case. Medical interventions are there to help save the life of a mother and her baby when necessary, here they are seen as a help, but … and there’s always a “but,” if they cause an unnecessary cesarean, they’re without a doubt a hindrance.
In childbirth, many refer to “The Domino Theory of Events” or Cascade. For example, if a mother is given one intervention, it then creates the need for another and another and yet another … picture a stack of dominoes carefully lined up, knock one down, and the others will instantaneously fall, a domino effect.
A couple examples of interventions …
External Fetal monitoring—this is the indirect monitoring of both mom and baby by the use of ultrasound waves. Two straps are placed around the mother’s abdomen, one picks up the fetal heart rate and the other has a pressure-sensor gauge that picks up the tension in mom’s abdomen. This lets you know when you are having a contraction. These are linked to a monitor.
Other examples are pitocin—during labor your body naturally produces contraction enhancing hormones called oxytocin. Pitocin is the synthetic version of this and is used to induce labor or speed up a labor that may be dragging along.
Amniotomy—the artificial rupturing of the bag of waters using an amnihook. Others include the Vacuum Extractors or Forceps, Episiotomy, Blood pressure cuff, Catheter, and more.
So how can we minimize these unnecessary interventions? During pregnancy, focus on good nutrition, know your options, attend a prenatal class, practice positions, breathing patterns, comfort techniques, etc.
Stay home as long as possible during early labor. Your early labor will progress best if you are comfortable and relaxed, which is most often than not easier to do when you are at home. Eat light meals throughout early labor; alternate between rest and relaxation and activity and movement.
During the active phase of labor, change positions frequently, and wait to have any pain medications until you are at least five centimeters dilated and you are in a well established active stage. During the pushing stage, change positions frequently; try the hands and knees position or squatting. Squatting especially opens up that pelvic outlet, and no “purple pushing,” ladies. This is when you hold your breath or strain for ten seconds or longer.
Be patient and have faith in your abilities as your labor progresses! Happy birthing!