As an expectant mom, you would hear a lot about ‘how natural delivery is the best for a mother and the baby’. While it is the true way of giving birth, a vaginal delivery procedure may require the assistance of a healthcare practitioner.
This is because, as beautiful as your body is, it may have its own limitations. Assistance doesn't necessarily mean that there is a problem, it is just a way to ensure that there isn't any.
For instance, If you have been pushing for long without any success at the baby sliding out or are too tired to push anymore, it is likely that you will need assistance. In most cases, assistance avoids the c-section procedure and lets you deliver naturally.
Below are the types of assisted natural delivery:
The assistance required by you will vary based on your specific condition and labour dynamics. Below are some common assisted natural delivery procedures:
In many cases, the labour may need to be started before the natural course begins; this is called inducing the labour. There may be numerous reasons for this, including pregnancy complications, delayed labour, etc. The induction is done with a drug that is given with intervention. The drug used is a synthetic form of oxytocin, called Pitocin.
Below are some common reasons that may call for inducing labour:
• High blood pressure
• Delayed labour (past due the date)
• Membrane ruptures
• Lack of amniotic fluid
• Other complications such as IHCP(Cholestasis of pregnancy), high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc.
Amniotomy - “Breaking the Bag of Water”
The normal course of labour will sometime reach a point when the bag of water ruptures and the fluid surrounding the baby will flow out. However, in the case of amniotomy, it is done artificially before or during the labour.
Below are some reasons that call for an amniotomy:
• To induce labour
• To monitor the contraction pattern in the uterus by placing an internal monitor
• To assess the presence of meconium that is the baby’s first stool
An amniohook that resembles a crochet hook will be used by the doctor to break the bag. The baby must be delivered within 24 hours of the breaking of the bag to prevent any infection.
While most women may not need this, in some special circumstances, the doctor may need to make a surgical incision in the skin between the anus and the vagina. This incision in the perineum serves the purpose of enlarging the vaginal opening so that the baby’s head passes through easily and the mother’s skin doesn’t tear.
Below are the 2 types of episiotomy incisions:
Midline incision: Here the cut is made towards the anus.
Mediolateral incision: This type of cut slants away from the anus.
If a woman has not opted for an epidural for the labour, a local anaesthetic will be applied for an episiotomy.
If the baby’s head almost reaches the vaginal opening but the mother gets tired of pushing or the baby doesn’t slide out, a forceps delivery may be preferred. Forceps are basically like 2 large spatulas and the doctor will insert them into the vagina to place them around the baby’s head. The doctor would then gently try to pull out the baby’s head. The rest of the baby’s body is then delivered normally.
This the process where a small suction cup is used to pull the baby’s head to facilitate delivery. Vacuum is created using a pump and the baby is pulled down. This may cause a bruise on the baby’s head but it would go off in about 48 hours of birth.
Sometimes, during the course of labour and natural delivery, the healthcare practitioner may need to keep a constant check on the heart rate of the baby. This can be done externally or internally. This is known as fetal monitoring and ensures the baby’s heart rate is within the normal range as they try for vaginal delivery.
Do not worry, just stay prepared
While the method of assistance and whether or not you will need it will depend on how things unfold, it is a good idea to know about them in advance so you do not freak out.