Whether you’re giving birth for the first time or growing your family, it’s understandable to have some anxiety about labor and delivery. While you can’t predict exactly how it will unfold, many aspects of the experience such as birthing positions and pain management are up to you.
To help you honor your preferences and prioritize your comfort on the big day, we’ve compiled answers to commonly asked questions.
About 60-70% of birthing people delivering in a hospital receive an epidural during labor and childbirth. An epidural is a type of anesthesia injected in your lower back. It is typically administered during the first stage of labor as you experience regular contractions.
An epidural reduces feeling in the lower half of the body, so it isn’t possible to use a labor or birthing position that requires full use of leg muscles such as standing or squatting.
However, you are not confined to laboring flat on your back if you use an epidural.
Many birthing positions are safe to try with an epidural. You can sit, lean forward, lie on your side, or get on your hands and knees.
You may also find it helpful to use a peanut ball when laboring with an epidural. A peanut ball is similar to an exercise ball but shaped like a peanut, as its name suggests. It sits comfortably between your legs.
Lying on your back is not the only way to use a hospital bed during labor and delivery. A hospital bed can help you get as comfortable as possible in a variety of laboring positions.
Here’s how to use a hospital bed to your advantage in each position.
It’s one of the most common questions about labor, especially for those giving birth for the first time. There isn’t a universal answer.
If you’ve made progress after several hours of pushing and both you and your baby are feeling good, it’s generally fine to keep at it. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers three or more hours well within a “normal” range, especially if you’re a first-time mom or using an epidural.
A c section becomes a possibility if you’re losing energy after several hours of pushing and aren’t close to delivery.
The safety of continuing to push also depends on your baby’s condition. If a slow or fast heart rate indicates distress and you still have a ways to go, your birthing team may recommend a c section.
At Ruth Health, we strive to bring you the facts so you can make decisions with ease — the decisions that are best for you. Let us know what other topics you’re interested in learning more about by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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