Signs of approaching labor:
A regular pattern of cramps that may feel like a backache or menstrual-type cramping.
An increase in vaginal discharge which includes a pink mucous or “bloody show.”
Lightening – a feeling as if the baby has moved deeper into the pelvis.
Ruptured bag of water.
The contractions are down to only five minutes apart – this could be it! Once your doctor has told you it’s time to come to the hospital, we’ll be here to help make your birth experience the event of a lifetime. Our goal is to decrease the anxiety often associated with childbirth , especially the first time, while increasing your feelings of control and autonomy.
Your Labor and Delivery Nurse will familiarize you with the facilities and discuss with you any specific ideas or expectations you have about your birthing experience. The nurse will observe you and your baby with a fetal monitor for at least the first half hour. She will also review with you various relaxation strategies you can use to reduce any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing.
The labor and delivery nursing team will continually assess your response to labor. It is our mission to be your resource for labor support. Our nurses are highly trained and supportive to help you relax and manage your pain. Many laboring women want a pain-free delivery, while other looks for ways to deliver without the intervention of drugs. We want you to know your options, and we’ll work with you to help you have the birth experience you want. We also know that sometimes women change their minds as the pain of labor progresses and that’s okay too.
Breathing and relaxation is the first step in pain management during labor. There are many tools that can benefit relaxation such as birthing balls, visualization and counter pressure. Your labor and delivery nurse will help you find which tool works best for you.
Pain management falls into two categories – analgesia and anesthesia. Analgesia is pain medication that does not inhibit movement. It is typically given through an IV or injection. Analgesics may help you relax between contractions; however they cannot be given immediately before the birth because they may slow infant reflexes and breathing.
Anesthesia (typically an epidural) creates a temporary loss of feeling in the lower half of the body. It is administered by an anesthesiologist who is available 24 hours a day. Epidurals enable you to remain completely conscious while reducing the discomfort. Once an epidural is administered, you must remain in bed.
We are well prepared to handle emergency cesarean deliveries anytime, day or night. Our surgical suites are located right on our unit. Once you are prepped for surgery, your support person will be encouraged to attend the birth. For the expert care of your baby, we always have a neonatalogist present during a cesarean delivery.