Complications During Labour

We all know that things sometimes go wrong. Not thinking about complications during labour won?t make those complications less likely, but it might make labour a scarier prospect. Many women feel relieved to learn that the majority of births go ahead normally and naturally. Another reassuring fact, is that doctors, midwives and surgeons are all very well prepped to deal with the unexpected and will have dealt with pretty much every scenario before so you will be in good hands.

Complications During LabourUnusual Presentations

Most babies settle into a head-down position in late pregnancy, but a few don?t. Babies who are breech, in a feet-down or bottom-down position, can sometimes be manually turned in a process known as an ECV. Some babies are determined to turn back around but for others, the ECV works well. If your baby is breech, the chances are that you will have a caesarean section.

Assisted Delivery

There are a number of reasons why you may need an assisted delivery, and there are a number of ways that this can be done. If you are tired or pushing is proving ineffective, or if your baby’s heart rate suggests that they may be in distress, your physician can use forceps or ventouse to help deliver your baby more quickly. If baby cannot be delivered quickly and safely, a caesarean is the safest option.

Forceps is a metal utensil that is placed around the head and used to pull the baby out. This sounds very harsh, but an epidural or local anaesthetic is usually given before the forceps are used.

Ventouse is a suction cup which uses vacuum to attach and pull baby out. Again, pain relief is given before this process.

Foetal Distress

If your baby is in distress, your care team will know quite quickly ? this is why they monitor baby during labour. If there is lots of movement from baby, the heart beat increases or is erratic or if there is any meconium in your waters when they break, your baby might be in distress. In this situation it is important to deliver baby as quickly and safely as possible and how this is done will depend on the stage of labour. If you are towards the end of your labour, it is likely that you will have an assisted delivery, but if you are in the earlier stages, a caesarean may be necessary.

Every delivery is different, so while you will probably have written a birth plan and have lots of ideas about how you would like the birth of your child to be, remember that things don?t always go to plan and it helps to be aware of the options when things get complicated. The important thing to remember is that while the delivery may have gone differently to how you expected, now that your baby has arrived, it is time to bond and enjoy spending time with your child. However they were delivered, skin to skin contact, early establishing of breastfeeding if you have decided to breastfeed and lots of quiet intimate time together will soon overtake any other concerns.

Work with your midwives, doctors, birth partner and whoever else you have around you to make the right choices for you and your baby so that you have a safe birth experience, however smooth or complex it might get.