Every child born in a safe and healthy manner is nothing short of a miracle, even by nature’s own design. So you don’t want any random maternity hospital or care provider mess with your and your baby’s experience, right? Thankfully there are ways to find the right one today!
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global effort supported by UNICEF and WHO to protect, promote and support breastfeeding by providing good care to the mother before, during, and after delivery, treating her with dignity and supporting her with proper information and guidance. In India, a task force has been formed to certify hospitals according to this criteria. Check if your hospital has been certified as Baby-Friendly or not. Names and addresses of such hospitals are available with the National Coordinator, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), BP33, Pitampura, Delhi 110088.
Getting Ready for the Hospital
Some hospitals provide you with a list of articles that you are required to bring along during your hospitalization. Others supply the items themselves. Make sure to keep your hospital bag always ready with the following items packed inside.
- Items of personal use like toothbrush, toothpaste, cream, etc.
- 2 nightgowns with front opening (to make it easier for you to breastfeed), and a wrap for when you have visitors.
- Underclothing including well–fitting bras (nursing bras are not recommended; they may get in the way of skin-to-skin contact between the breast and your baby’s face as you nurse her)
- Towel and some napkins.
- Non-skid slippers.
- Clothes for you and your newborn to wear when you are discharged.
- Whatever cash you may need.
You may also want to bring along a book, a table clock, a photograph of your older child or husband, and a small picture or statue of your icon or deity, to keep by your bedside in the hospital. Also, don’t forget to register in your hospital of choice, most institutions will ask you to do so a week in advance, so do consult your doctor on this.
An Emergency Delivery Kit at Home
All your best-laid plans can sometimes go awry; even if you have registered at a hospital, keep a Delivery Kit handy in case of any emergency. Make sure your kit has soap, a plastic sheet, cotton and gauze pads, cotton thread for tying the cord, a new razor blade, and some cetrimide solution (1%).
The normal gestation period for a baby in the womb is 9 months and 7 days, calculated from the first day of the last menstrual cycle. So from here one can easily deduce the due date. Anytime around this due date, the uterus will start having contractions, indicating the onset of labour. These contractions tend to get stronger with time. The key here is to check, how often the contractions are coming and how long does each one last. If they occur at an interval of around 10 minutes and go on for more than 30 seconds, then go to the hospital immediately.
Contractions may also occur without any pain.This is mainly termed as ‘false labour” and can be avoided by using correct sitting and standing postures.
The normal position of birth is when the baby is born head first. When the baby is born bottom first, it is called a breech delivery. Such children are more prone to have congenital dislocation of the hip.
The doctor may make a small cut near the vagina to widen the opening of the birth canal at the time of delivery. Post-delivery, the cut is stitched up. This cut is known as an episiotomy.
Forceps and Vacuum Delivery
If the mother gets too tired during delivery and is unable to push anymore, or if there is any other unforeseeable complication and the baby is in distress, the doctor can place a forceps on the baby’s head and help to ease the baby out. A vacuum pump can also be used in this regard.
Delivery in birthing pools may not always be safe for a baby. Aspirations of water into the lungs, pneumonia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and some other risks have been reported in newborns delivered under water. Still, it can be use as a method for pleasant labour.
When the baby has to be delivered by surgical intervention, it is known as Caesarean or C-Section delivery. Here a cut is made just below the bikini line from which the baby is lifted out.
Drugs in Labour
Do discuss the subject of pain management with your doctor. In general, I encourage it to be as natural as possible. I also believe that drugs can never be a good substitute for good emotional support from your spouse, doctor or any loved one who knows the whole process properly. In fact, usage of pain relieving drugs in delivery may result in less cooperation from the mother, and may even cause depression in your newborn baby, which might lead to future complications in breathing and nursing.
However, if required painkillers can be given during delivery. They are administered through a vein and injected into the bloodstream. There are epidural painkillers also that can be administered through the spine. It dulls the pain in the lower part of the body but the patient remains fully conscious.
Hope your birthing experience is like a piece of cake!
Source: Guide to child care by R.K Anand
To Consult Dr. R.K Anand in person, please click here