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April 16, 2012

How to Have the Best Labor and Delivery Possible

Fit Pregnancy April/May 2012A veteran nurse of 20 years talks to Fit Pregnancy about how to realistically improve your labor and delivery.

Confession: When I was in the midst of a high-risk pregnancy with twins, my OB suggested I have a C-section. In such a stressful situation, I never questioned the doctor’s opinion, opting instead to get the girls here safely and as close to term as possible. The rest would be up to her.

I’d be lying if I said I never sit back and wonder about my birthing process. When I watch my friends contemplate their own birth plans, I sometimes feel a little remorse. Did I miss out on something great?

The April/May issue of Fit Pregnancy focuses on helping women have the easiest delivery possible, seeking the advice of an expert. No, not a doctor–a labor nurse. If you’re giving birth, you’ll be spending more time with her than the doctor anyway. That said, it might be good to hear what she has to say now–before you hit the stirrups. Her job is to comfort and coach you, so why not bend your ear to the real expert in the delivery room?

Here’s what Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., had to say about having the easiest labor and delivery possible. Listen up!

1. Get out of the bed. Changing your position can help alleviate pain and cramping. It also helps move the baby down the birth canal. Try a tub, sit on a ball or go for walk, but don’t stay in the same position.

2. Plan to be flexible. You’ll have your ideal birth plan in mind, but don’t get too attached. Things can change quickly in a high-stakes situation. Decide on the non-negotiables and stick to a one-page plan. But don’t worry if you have to scrap it at the last second.

3. Let go of the modesty. Check the vanity. Doctors, nurses, doulas–they’ve all seen it all before, so don’t stress about what everything looks like “down there.” Freshly showered is all they hope for. As for the screaming and crying–nothing could surprise them. Just don’t be mean!

4. Be honest about your fears. No one minds helping you, and no worry is too small. If you’re afraid of something, speak up so someone can help you.

5. “Labor is a journey, not a race.” There is no “crystal ball” as to how long someone’s labor will take. Pros can guess, but they don’t really know. One way to make it go faster? Nix the entourage in the delivery room. You’re more modest and worried about appearances when they’re there, and it does slow the process. Now, there’s your excuse for keeping grandma in the waiting room!

What’s your best advice for a smooth delivery?



About the Author

Kara Gause
Kara Gause
Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog, MasterofWhat.com.