Giving Birth - Having A Baby, Women Giving Birth and Pregnancy
We're Having A Baby!
Birth stories abound in books and on the internet of women having their babies in the most wonderful or most unexpected ways and places. From women giving birth in the front seat of the car to babies being delivered by firemen or policemen, these birth stories provide a real look at life - and they do tend to be entertaining, usually with a very happy ending.
When a woman is going into labor, if she's done her homework, she will usually be very calm and prepared for the event - even if there is a sense of some anxiety. Her partner may be another matter entirely. We've often seen or heard about pregnancies where the man comes unglued when the woman tells him "it's time", meaning she's going into labor.
A Midwife on the Scene
One person who is never surprised and a great help during pregnancy and especially when a woman is going into labor, is a midwife. If a woman has opted for a natural birth and has the help of a midwife, then she can trust her to provide all the care she'll need for her pregnancy and birth. If complications arise, then the midwife will refer her to her obstetrician who is trained for these special circumstances.
During pregnancy, visits from the midwife are frequent and filled with opportunities to ask questions and gain learning. From the pregnancy welcome visit at around eight or ten weeks gestation, through to the last visit when the baby is six weeks old, the midwife is there to provide assistance and address concerns. She will provide visuals, such as pictures of giving birth or giving birth videos, which will help to dispel fears or concerns. She is also able to give great advice on diet, exercise, and handling the minor discomforts associated with pregnancy. Often, you can call her for answers or with concerns and you'll get a prompt response - rather than having to wait for an appointment with a doctor. If testing is to be done, she can give you the information you need to know about the antenatal testing - what is it, why it is being done - and she can discuss the various screenings and tests in order for a woman and her partner to determine whether they are something they want to have done or not.
The Role of the Midwife During Pregnancy
Throughout the pregnancy the midwife not only cares for the mother's needs, but she's very involved in the life of the baby to be born. As time progresses, toward the end of the pregnancy, the midwife will want to establish how the baby is lying. Questions about movement and positioning of the baby over the course of the pregnancy helps her to know what to expect in terms of placement when the woman goes into labor. If the birth is to be at home, then when the woman is going into labor, the midwife will come and assess the progress and condition of the both mother and baby. If the birth is to be in the hospital, then an assessment is made before going to the hospital or it is done in the hospital after arrival. All through the pregnancy and labor, the midwife is documenting the progress. She uses technical terminology to record fetal heart rate, whether the head is engaged or not, how much of the head can be felt at the pelvis, and other important pieces of information to determine how the labor and birth are going.
Help During Labor and Birth
The midwife's job is support, encouragement and help during labor. She is also supportive of the partners who are there as well as helping to ensure that the birth is the way the woman wants it to be. She monitors the woman's health and the baby's health during the entire time. As labor progresses, she's there to suggest positions that may be more comfortable and ways of dealing with the contractions. If, at any point, the midwife is concerned about how things are going, she'll connect with medical staff. If the birth is at home, then the midwife will ensure the baby is okay and she will help both the mother and partner to become comfortable and to feed the baby.