Nine Months: As you reach the 'finish line', here's what to expect during delivery

Pregnancy is truly a satisfying journey, filling you with the happiest feeling in the world. But as you approach the end of the third trimester, the anxiety will be palpable.

Thinking about the labour pain, the delivery, and the numerous sources of advice, it may seem like a world of confusion waiting to consume you. But don’t worry.

Here’s some advice that will reassure you that you’re ready for ‘The Day’!

Daddy Can Do!

The other day we couldn’t help but fight back our laughter on hearing that a friend’s husband fainted in the delivery room. Dramatic but true!

And why just one instance? Ask doctors and they’ll explain intriguing real-life accounts straight from the labour room.

But on a more serious note, what can the father do during the delivery? While he may not be able to contribute in the same proportion as the doctor, his presence in the labour room itself may count as a reassurance to his wife.

The emotional support may not help ease the pain, but it may surely help calm her anxiety. For the former, there’s always an epidural!

The Surprise Delivery

While delivery remains a concern, what remains an even bigger concern is being caught in a helpless situation when it’s nearly time for your baby to arrive. Hitting the panic button is all you could probably think of, but refrain.

Doctors confirm that around 95 percent of the time, expecting mothers rarely end up delivering in the car or en route to the hospital. Hence the cause for alarm is unnecessary.

On the contrary, if it does happen, contacting the concerned doctor and understanding what should be done would help bring the situation under control. Alternatively, the person accompanying you could scan the locality for the nearest nursing home or clinic. This would ensure you receive immediate help as most clinics would be ready to assist with first aid.

Much Ado About Nothing?

Fortunately, emergency deliveries shouldn’t be an alarming concern since such instances were common only years ago, when couples were expecting their 4th or 5th child. In these cases, women would not feel the labour pain, which often resulted in surprise deliveries. The outcome was similar for women who had delivered by Caesarean section in their previous two pregnancies. However, today, with most couples planning only 1 or 2 children, such emergencies are not a common occurrence.

The Lactation Rulebook – Is There Really One?

Thinking of lactation as a science that needs to be demystified is mainly the reason doctors see couples rushing to classes designed for the purpose.

With reference to the hype surrounding lactation classes, doctors point out the example of mothers you often see begging for alms at traffic signals. They carry their babies across their shoulders as they go about their day. Then, there are others living in tiny hamlets with their young ones. Yet, none of these women have ever attended an antenatal class, a session on lactating or the right way to hold the baby! Clearly, the instinct comes naturally and this conservative yet highly effective approach is what doctors suggest young mothers should take a cue from.

Despite hospitals offering lactation consultants and tips to effectively breastfeed, mothers still report instances of engorged breasts and cracked nipples. On the contrary, women in the general wards rarely experience these symptoms, despite not having attended any sessions of this kind.

But what could be the cause? Generally, a large amount of pressure is subjected on new mothers, specifically women in the cities. It happens to the extent that tasks like breastfeeding have been turned into an art form. Perfection is given undue importance when in actuality, something as simple as lactation should just be nature taking its course.

New-age Dilemmas

So are mothers beating themselves up over nothing? That is what most doctors believe, particularly with urban lifestyle and the rapid dissolving of the joint family acting as influencing factors.

Years ago, couples could rely on their parents or extended family to lend a hand with the baby. But in the current scenario, caring for the baby is a couple’s own responsibility. Add to this, the Internet, the media, and work lives, and you have couples who face the constant pressure to conform as parents and get it all perfect.

Your take away from this - Relax. You don’t always need special classes to perform as a parent; listen to your body and caring for your little one will come naturally.

Debunking Myths

Despite being a process that’s completely natural and one that’s been recurring since time immemorial, a certain obscurity seems to be deep-seated when it comes to pregnancy.

Here are a few myths that were long waiting to be debunked!

  • There’s No Solution To Labour Pain

A certain anxiety takes over mothers in the eighth month, which is particularly associated with the impending labour pain. The fear peaks to the extent that some even consider a Caesarean delivery. However, this worry over the excruciating pain is put to rest once doctors provide the assurance of an epidural, which can make the process more or less pain-free.

  • Baby Should Instinctively Feed At The Mother’s Breast

There’s a belief that post the delivery, a baby must instinctively crawl to his mother’s breast to feed. And this notion gets even more bizarre. Supposedly, if it doesn’t happen, there’s a low likelihood of the two bonding. Now, if that was true, adopted children would never love their parents!

  • Doctors Are Liars

The word of mouth goes that doctors are out to cheat patients. However, this belief is clearly debatable. The journey to a pregnancy needs to be safe and this can only be possible when you trust your doctor. For instance, if the doctor says your baby is in distress, with an emergency C-section required, it’s likely he would suggest it to minimise risks and bring about a positive outcome. To reassure you, evidence would be provided wherever necessary.

So, trust your doctor, he’d know what’s best!

  • Epidurals Are Not Safe

Rumours often surround the use of epidurals, particularly the belief that they bring on long-term backache, and in serious cases even paralysis. However, in scientific research, there has been no such findings that indicate a relation between backache and epidurals. Doctors state that even if a slim chance does exist, it would probably be one in a one lakh or one in two lakh.

Post pregnancy, around 8-10 percent of women report backache. Some even attribute it to the use of epidurals. However, when doctors clear the air on the accusations made over epidurals, it’s worth making a note of. In their view, the backache that follows pregnancy is generally the result of poor post-natal care. This includes lack of post-natal exercise, incorrect feeding positions, and even poor posture.

A part of easing out the pregnancy process is simplifying the complexities, to reveal solutions. While you can never be fully prepared for the delivery, knowing what to expect goes a long way!

Follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting. Watch this episode for a more comprehensive discussion on reaching the finishing line of your pregnancy.

Published Date: Jan 06, 2018 10:00 AM | Updated Date: Jan 30, 2018 19:07 PM