During prenatal visits, talk with your
health professional and IP's about what you would like to happen during labor.
Consider writing up your labor and delivery preferences in a birthing plan,
either with the help of a childbirth education class or on your own. You can
find various examples of birthing plans on parenting Web sites. Because no
labor or delivery can be fully anticipated or planned in advance, be flexible.
Your experience may be totally different from what you expect.
When making plans
for the baby's birth, consider the location of your delivery, who will
deliver the baby, and whether you want continuous labor support from a
designated health professional or a doula, a friend, or family members or your
Intended Parents. If you haven't already, this is also a good time to decide
whether you'll attend a childbirth education class with or without your IP's,
starting in your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. After you've set the
stage, think through your preferences for comfort measures, pain relief, and
Comfort measures may
Nonmedication pain management ("natural" childbirth), such as
focused breathing, distraction, massage, imagery, and continuous labor support,
which can reduce pain and help you feel a sense of control during labor.
Acupuncture and hypnosis are also low-risk ways to manage pain that work for
Laboring in water, which helps with pain, stress, and may also help
prevent slow, difficult labor.
Walking during labor, including whether you prefer continuous
electronic fetal heart monitoring or occasional monitoring. Most women prefer
the freedom to walk and move around, which helps reduce discomfort, but a
high-risk delivery would require constant monitoring.
Eating and drinking during labor. Some hospitals allow you to drink
clear liquids while others may only allow you to suck on ice chips or hard
candy. Solid food is often restricted because the stomach digests food more
slowly during labor. An empty stomach is also best in the rare event that you
may need general anesthesia.
Playing music during labor.
Birthing positions during pushing, including sitting, squatting, or
reclining or using a ball, whirlpool, or birthing chair, stool, or bed.
Pain medication may
Epidural anesthesia, which is an ongoing injection of pain
medication into the epidural space around the spinal cord, to partially or fully
numb the lower body. A "light" epidural allows the surrogate mother to feel
enough so that she can push, reducing risks of stalled labor and cesarean
Pudendal and paracervical blocks, which are injections of pain
medication into the pelvic area to reduce labor pain. Pudendal is one of the
safest forms of anesthesia for numbing the area where the baby will come out.
Paracervical has been generally replaced by epidural, which is more effective.
Narcotics, typically Demerol, which are sometimes used to reduce
anxiety and pain. Narcotics have limited pain-relief effectiveness and can have
troubling side effects for the surrogate mother and baby.
relief medications are not the type that you would request during labor. Rather,
they are used as part of another procedure or emergency delivery. However, it's
a good idea to be familiar with them. They include:
Local anesthesia, the injection of pain medication into the skin,
which numbs the area before episiotomy or before inserting an epidural.
Spinal block, the injection of pain medication into the spinal
fluid, which rapidly and fully numbs the pelvic area for assisted births, such
as for forceps or cesarean delivery. If you have a spinal block, no pushing is
General anesthesia, the use of inhaled or intravenous (IV)
medication, which renders you unconscious. It has more risks, yet takes effect
much faster than epidural or spinal anesthesia. General anesthesia is therefore
only used for some emergencies that require a rapid delivery, when an epidural
catheter has not been installed in advance.
If an emergency or an urgent situation
arises, your plan may have to change for you or the baby's safety. You may still
be allowed to participate in some decisions, but some of those choices may be
modified to increase the safety margins.
Medical procedures for aiding a safe
delivery may include:
If you have anything to add please comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences!