Many variables occur during pregnancy from beginning to end, but the finale of pregnancy is often the most significant source of anxiety for pregnant mothers. The uncertainties of labor and delivery can be frightening. Will the baby be healthy? Will it be painful? What are the chances of complications?
Every mother’s labor and delivery are unique in their own ways, but there are ways to prepare yourself for some of the possibilities. We’ve rounded up a few here today, and we hope an expansion of knowledge helps ease some of your uncertainties.
#1 – Abnormal heart rate
Fetal tachycardia, or an abnormally fast heart rate, occurs in one out of every 200 pregnancies. This fact can be frightening for mothers. It’s only natural to fear long term heart problems or a difficult delivery if this occurs. Luckily, the condition usually has no effect on babies during or before delivery.
Bradycardia, or an abnormally slow heart rate, can cause problems. If it happens early in pregnancy, it may be indicative of early problems. If it happens late in pregnancy, it can necessitate urgent or early delivery.
#2 – Cardiac arrest in mothers
One in 12,000 women admitted for delivery in the U.S. experience sudden cardiac arrest. Though it isn’t as common as other complications, it needs to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, there is a myth that CPR and defibrillators can’t be used.
However, if a pregnant mother suffers a cardiac arrest, the same three actions used on non-pregnant people should be taken. Call 911, perform CPR, and use an AED to restart her heart. CPR on pregnant women is precisely the same as it is on anyone else. Make sure your partner or other family members know this.
#3 – Perineal tears
It isn’t pleasant to think about, but tearing in the area between your vagina and anus is a common complication during childbirth. It’s even more common if it is your first time giving birth. These tears often heal on their own, but if the damage is severe, they can require stitches. Your doctor will be able to tell you if stitches are necessary, but even if they are, the problem is common enough to where long-lasting consequences are improbable.
This cringe-inducing concept may be common, but it is likely the least serious complication on this list. Your best bet is to try your hardest not to think about it.
#4 – Excessive Bleeding
Postpartum hemorrhage is a condition in which severe bleeding occurs following childbirth. It isn’t common, but it is serious. Between one and five women out of every 100 that give birth experience this problem. Though it usually occurs within a day of birth, cases have been recorded up to twelve weeks after having the baby.
Bleeding can also occur as a result of severe tears to the uterus. It’s the worldwide leading cause of maternal death, so if you suspect an issue after returning home from the hospital, get it checked out as soon as possible.
#5 – Perinatal asphyxia
This nasty condition occurs when a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen in the uterus or during labor or delivery. If it lasts long enough, it can cause harm to a baby’s brain. This can sometimes stem from a drop in the mother’s blood pressure or interference with blood flow to the baby.
Luckily, this one isn’t prevalent either. Between two and ten babies out of every 1000 born experience this condition. The good news is that modern technology has lessened the risk of asphyxia. CTG scans can screen for fetal well-being before and during labor, and if distress is detected, doctors can take appropriate steps to prevent lasting damage.
#6 – Water breaking too early
If we’ve learned anything from movies, a woman’s water breaking means it is time to get to a hospital as soon as possible. The baby is coming!
There are many things movies get wrong about water breaking, but the idea that it means it’s time to give birth is incorrect. Typically, labor begins within 24 hours of water breaking. If it doesn’t, labor is usually induced.
However, in some cases, a woman’s water breaks before 34 weeks. If this happens, it is still essential to get to the hospital right away. Infection is a common side effect of waiting too long. So, in a way, the movies are right. If your water breaks, get to a hospital no matter what.
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*This is a collaborative post