Birth Preparation and Complications Readiness
I know some of us have been having questions about birth preparation, others want to clear their minds on the complications associated with pregnancy.
Normally, labour starts at 35 to 47 weeks, early or latent first stage. Whenever you feel some sort of contractions at this stage, do timing as part of your birth preparation.
Take a look at the clock and wait for another contraction.
Luckily, if another contraction comes through like 5 minutes later then, know it is about time…labour and delivery is on the way.
However, birth preparation and complications readiness is part of FANC objectives. Therefore, there are considerations to follow during your antenatal period.
Initially, the service provider/health care provider has to ensure prevention, protection of complications by providing tetanus toxoids to prevent maternal and neonatal death.
Afterwards, during your birth preparation process, the health professional should be able to discuss to you the components of birth plan.
A birth plan is an outline of your preferences during labour and delivery. This means you can list whatever will make you comfortable during that time.
As a matter of fact, every birth is a unique experience. So, when you communicate your wishes to a health provider and your companion, you empower yourself to become informed of your labour preferences.
You are the focal point of the birth preparation.
By saying so, you need to share about your birth partner or companion. Maybe the father of the baby/ your sister/ mother-in-law or aunt.
Actually, your birth partner should be involved in making individual birth plan.
In addition, your partner can provide you with support during your pregnancy period at the antenatal clinic and during delivery.
For the health providers, make sure that clients in your clinic know that you welcome birth partners or companion.
Individual birth plan (IBP) in birth preparation ensures that:
- You both know when the baby is due i.e. EDD finding.
- Identify a skilled birth attendant.
- You choose a health facility for delivery and emergencies
- Your health provider can list for you the danger signs in pregnancy and delivery and knows what to do if they occur.
- Identifies a decision maker in case of emergencies.
- The birth companion knows how to get money in case of emergency.
- Has a transport plan in case of emergency.
- There is a birth partner or companion for the birth.
- Has collected the basic supply for the birth.
15% of pregnant women develop life-threatening complications requiring obstetrics care.
These women could die if nobody is there to make timely decisions at home or at the health facility.
Common Complications During Labour and Delivery
As part of your birth preparation, you should know and prepare for the following:
- An obstructed labour due to weakened contractions, insufficient cervix dilation or struggling infant’s descent in the birth canal.
- Water breaking early and labour does not begin within 24 hours.
- Perineal tears that your health provider can repair with stitches (episiotomy).
- Umbilical cord problems.
- Abnormal heart rate of the baby especially when the test results indicate some danger.
- Perinatal asphyxia i.e. when your baby does not get enough oxygen.
- Shoulder dystocia may occur when your baby’s head is out of the vagina but one shoulder is stuck.
- Excessive bleeding (PPH) which is the leading cause of maternal mortality. To avoid this before labour and delivery, take lots of fruits, dates and milk as well as drinking enough water daily.
On our side as healthcare providers, during birth preparation process at the antenatal care clinic, we normally have set questions that also focus on your transport.
Specific Transport Questions in Your Birth Preparation.
- Where will you deliver?
- Where will you go in case of an emergency?
- Is it possible to get there?
- How far is it from your home?
- How long will it take you to get there?
- Have you made this journey before?
- How much will it cost to arrange for transport?
- How will you raise funds for this transport?
As the WHO (World Health Organization) consider it as the key materials for maternal and newborn health, pregnant mothers should value this resource.
This birth preparation package describes each intervention in demand for achieving safe motherhood in a short period.
In your community or the health facility there might be some major obstetric complications occurring that this birth preparation package has already covered by giving ways of approaching them.
As commonly referred to “The four pillars” they include; family planning, quality antenatal care, clean/safe delivery and essential obstetric care.
For the pregnant mothers, before term your mother-baby package should include:
- A pair of sterile rubber gloves or where gloves are not available, use clean plastic bags that can be worn over the hands.
- Cotton wool.
- Clean unused razor blade.
- Thread or string.
- Cloth for the baby and the mother.
- Money to pay for transport.
- Towels and napkins.
Now, this goes to all of us…If we poorly manage pregnancies, delivery, offering inadequate neonatal care especially during the first critical hours of life, we are failures in birth preparation.
This is because it will raise the number of maternal and neonatal deaths. Definitely, this will have gone against the goals of this birth preparation package.
Let us be responsible from the pregnant mothers, the healthcare providers, family members and the community at large.