Do you know what the 5 main labour and birth challenges might be?

This is a quick guide to what the labour and birth challenges might be and why your options can change.

Labour and birth is pretty unique to you and your baby and, while we know what can help labour progress, there are some things that can affect what you need and what is an option for you. Sometimes these challenges can mean a change in your birth plan.

labour & birth challenges

Labour and birth challenges: why does the position of your baby make a difference?

The position of your baby can be pretty important when it comes to labour and birth. If your baby is in a back-to-back position this can delay labour starting, labour could be longer and you may have more backache.

Know: Movement and gravity in pregnancy and in labour can help your baby to be in a better position, although sometimes they just do their own thing no matter what you do. But it is worth knowing that your baby might not quite be in the right position, because your contractions could be trying to turn your baby, rather than focusing on dilating.

Do: listen to your body, move, rest, drink, eat so you can give your body the space and the energy it needs to try to move your baby into a better position.

Mindset: Your baby and your body need time which is why you could be over your due date or why labour is taking a while with seemingly little progress.

Labour and Birth Challenges: why is being induced challenging?

Know: If you need to be induced, it can be differently to your ideal labour and birth. You may have been preparing for a natural labour with options for things like a waterbirth. Induction is about having your labour started so it is more medical from the beginning which can involve being in a shared space until you are in labour.

Do: Ask questions, know what you can do to be comfortable, calm and to work with your contractions.

Mindset: Induction needs planning for in a different way so you are more aware of the different needs you may have and so you can go into hospital better prepared.

Labour and Birth Challenges: why does lack of gravity make a difference?

Know: If your body and baby need more gravity then being without it could make contractions less effective but more painful and your labour/birth just might not progress as well as it could.

There are few occasions where gravity can’t happen – even if you need to be on a bed it could well be possible to move so

Do: Talk about this in pregnancy, and try positions out so you have had time to think about and explore your options. If you want to move in labour, move – say what you need.

Mindset: Go with what feels right for you and put yourself at the centre of your care. If you can say what you need to do, you can hopefully be supported to find the right position for you.

Labour and Birth Challenges: why is a fast labour challenging?

Know: Fast labout doesn’t have to be challenging and it is a bit subjective because what is fast for one women might not seem it for another BUT if labour is quick it might be intense.

A fast labour often means that contractions are powerful and very close together, with very little break in-between. And it can change your options because there may not be time for an epidural or using a birth pool.

Do: Breathe and move. Try to stay as calm as you can. Hold on to someone, get the support you need to be able to work with these contractions.

Mindset: Your body is doing it, your contractions are intense because they are powerful and working quickly.

Labour and Birth Challenges: why is a slow labour challenging?

Know: Sometimes labour can plod on and be longer than expected. It is possible for earlier labour to last for days and sometimes active labour lasts for several hours. This could be because your baby isn’t quite in the right position and needs time to try to move.

Do: Rest, eat, drink, move, bathe, wander, walk up stairs, use birth ball, lean, sleep, massage/back pressure, talk, breathe.

Mindset: Give yourself time, there’s no rush. Take it step by step because your needs might change.

What next? If you are pregnant and getting better prepared for labour and birth there are a few options for you:

*antenatal course – which can be self-paced or with consultations
*book consultations with me to talk through your birth preparation

With a calm and knowledgeable approach, my aim is to provide the knowledge, support and reassurance you need to be informed and confident parents.

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A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting

Working with parents since 2002

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