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1.3.1: Preparing for Childbirth

  • Page ID
    41315
  • Prepared childbirth refers to being not only in good physical condition to help provide a healthy environment for the baby to develop, but also helping individuals to prepare to accept their new roles as parents. Additionally, parents can receive information and training that will assist them for delivery and life with the baby. The more future parents can learn about childbirth and the newborn, the better prepared they will be for the adjustment they must make to a new life.

    Approaches to Childbirth

    There are many different approaches to childbirth that influence how expectant parents prepare. The following table describes a few of these:

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Approaches to Childbirth (Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective (page 59) by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0; Lifespan Development - Module 3: Prenatal Development by Lumen Learning references Psyc 200 Lifespan Psychology by Laura Overstreet, licensed under CC BY 4.0)
    Method Description
    The Lamaze Method The emphasis of this method is on teaching the woman to be in control in the process of delivery. It includes learning muscle relaxation, breathing through contractions, having a focal point (usually a picture to look at) during contractions and having a support person who goes through the training process with the mother and serves as a coach during delivery.
    The Leboyer Method This method involves giving birth in a quiet, dimly lit room and allowing the newborn to lie on the mother’s stomach with the umbilical cord intact for several minutes while being given a warm bath.
    Dick-Read Method / Mongan Method / Hypnobirthing This method comes from the suggestion that the fear of childbirth increases tension and makes the process of childbearing more painful. It emphasizes the use of relaxation and proper breathing with contractions as well as family support and education.
    Bradley Method “The Bradley Method focuses on preparing the mother for a natural childbirth coached by her partner. They learn techniques to reduce the perception of pain and stay relaxed. The emphasis is on being prepared for an unassisted vaginal birth without medication.” 2
    Alexander Technique This is a technique that can be used during childbirth that involves training to stop habitual reactions to pain, such as tensing muscles and increase conscious awareness and control over posture and movement. This involves being able to move freely and stay upright during labor and using body positioning that is beneficial to the labor process.3
    Waterbirth Involves immersion in warm water. Proponents believe this method is safe and provides many benefits for both mother and infant, including pain relief and a less traumatic birth experience for the baby. However, critics argue that the procedure introduces unnecessary risks to the infant such as infection and water inhalation.4
    Lotus Birth Or umbilical cord nonseverance – UCNS, is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus. This usually occurs within 3–10 days after birth. The practice is performed mainly for spiritual purposes of the parents, including for the perceived spiritual connection between placenta and newborn.5
    Silent Birth Sometimes known as quiet birth, is a birthing procedure advised by L. Ron Hubbard and advocated by Scientologists in which "everyone attending the birth should refrain from spoken words as much as possible." 6
    Medicated Childbirth Health care providers can provide pain relief during labor with different types of medication, including epidurals, spinal blocks, combined spinal-epidurals, and systemic and local analgesia. There are benefits and side effects of each.7
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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Expectant parents in a childbirth preparation class. (Image by liz.schrenk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Choosing Location of Childbirth & Who Will Deliver

    The vast majority of births occur in a hospital setting. However, one percent of women choose to deliver at home (Martin, Hamilton, Osterman, Curtin, & Mathews, 2015). Women who are at low risk for birth complications can successfully deliver at home. More than half (67%) of home deliveries are by certified nurse midwives. Midwives are trained and licensed to assist in delivery and are far less expensive than the cost of a hospital delivery. However, because of the potential for a complication during the birth process, most medical professionals recommend that delivery take place in a hospital. In addition to home births, one-third of out-of-hospital births occur in freestanding clinics, birthing centers, in physician’s offices, or other locations.

    Contributors and Attributions

    2. Oberg, Erica (n.d.). Childbirth Delivery Methods and Types. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/7_childbirth_and_delivery_methods/article.htm#childbirth_and_delivery_methods_and_types_facts.

    3. Machover, Ilana. (n.d.). The Alexander Technique in Natural Childbirth. Retrieved from https://www.alexandertechnique.com/articles/childbirth/.

    4. Water Birth by Wikidoc is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    5. Lotus Birth by Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    6. Silent Birth by Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

    7. Epidural and Spinal Anesthesia Use During Labor: 27-state Reporting Area, 2008 by Michelle J.K. Osterman and Joyce A. Martin is in the public domain

    9. Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective (page 59) by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0; Lifespan Development - Module 3: Prenatal Development by Lumen Learning references Psyc 200 Lifespan Psychology by Laura Overstreet, licensed under CC BY 4.0

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