I am often asked this question, "what are my chances of delivering normally?"
Let me first of all tell you that all pregnancies have a potential capacity for ending in a normal delivery. Normal delivery means a delivery process that starts naturally at the completion of 38 weeks of gestation, is accomplished by a vaginal route and does not need any instrumental assistance, and has no complications such as tears and post-delivery excessive bleeding.
Short-statured women or women with pelvic deformities can have difficulties delivering normally. Likewise, women who are obese or have very large babies (the estimated weight is more than 3.5 kg) have difficulties and may need assistance such as the application of a vacuum or forceps to deliver the baby. Sometimes the baby may be oblique in its lie or present by its buttocks, called the breach or shoulders, called the transverse lie or brow, where the baby starts abutting onto the mom’s pelvis with its forehead rather than the back portion of its head. These may be assessed before or during the delivery process and vaginal delivery is not possible in these situations.
Mother’s health issues and baby’s condition can also preclude sometimes a vaginal delivery. Sometimes women either cannot tolerate labour pain or have a severe fear of pain or may opt-out of a normal delivery choice.
To increase your chances of normal delivery, the following measures can help.
1. Ensure that your health parameters are normal, such as blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels of 11-12g/dl and try to optimize your prenatal health status to the fullest.
2. Rule out the following | Self-Checklist:
- Height less than 150 cm
- BMI of more than 35
- Any pelvic deformities
- Previous cesarean delivery
- Previous baby born with difficult delivery and has suffered birth trauma
- If the baby's health is compromised due to improper growth or prematurity
3. Being healthy and fit is important. During pregnancy whole lot of changes occur in our body. Likewise, the process of labour is similar to a marathon as it is for about 16 hours. Dynamic and energy-intense. This, therefore, requires strength and fitness. It is important to have a good physical fitness routine during your pregnancy.
Ideally, this should be worked on before conception where the focus is on building strength and stamina. These can be achieved by brisk walking for at least 10000 steps daily, stretching and floor exercises, and deep breathing exercises such as pranayama which help in increasing lung capacity. These should be practiced at least 5 days a week to be effective and yield the necessary levels.
4. Patience matters. The process of labour takes approximately 16to 20 hours from the onset to the final delivery. It is so because the body goes through a phenomenal change to allow the birthing track to deliver the baby.
5. Some illnesses in the mother and issues in the baby may mandate a cesarean delivery for a quick in and out as a long labour process may be risky for both.
Have a great attitude and be fearless and self-confident. Don’t get boggled by info that is from an unreliable source. Happy birthing dears.
- Dr. Girija Wagh