C-sections are on a rise these days, which is alarming considering that a surgical intervention during delivery must be the last resort. Most women are told that they require the intervention because their baby is stuck inside. It sounds rather unbelievable that such an occurrence should be a frequent problem. But your baby getting stuck in the pelvis could happen, and there are ways to prevent the situation. Read on for more:
1. The position of the mother:
The ease of labor also depends on how the mother positions herself. Upright positions such as squatting, on all fours, or standing can open the pelvis by 30 percent. It’s also not a bad idea to sway, rock, walk or crawl so as to have comfort while your baby is also turning around inside to assume the best position for birth. The common practice at hospitals and portrayal on popular media is that a woman must by in a reclined or lying down position or sit on their tailbone. This reduces woman’s flexibility to help her body. Such confinement might also put the baby at risk of compression of blood vessels or that of the umbilical cord. Whenever there is an alarm of distress, there is the need of a C-section intervention.
2. The position of the baby:
The position of the baby, also called the presentation, determines whether it must be delivered through a C-section. The most effective presentation during labor is occiput anterior position, whereby the baby has its head down with the back facing to the front and chin tucked into its chest. The baby’s head must make its way out through the dilated cervix and the pelvis. Your baby could be stuck inside if it is not in the optimal, such as a breech position whereby the baby is placed bottom down.
Your baby could be born in other positions as well. Sometimes they also change position at the time of labor from being posterior to anterior. Most of the times the baby proceeds trying to assume a better position. It also depends on the ability of the mother to move freely and create more space in the pelvis to help her baby shift into optimal position. An irregular contraction might simply be making the position of the baby a difficult one. Therefore the mother might have to be administered artificial oxytocin such as Pitocin to make the contractions less apart and more consistent and strong. However the strong contraction could not allow the baby to shift positions, and they could get stuck such that an intervention as a C-section or episiotomy is required.
3. The use of epidural:
Epidural and a local anesthetic go hand in hand while being injected through tough layers of the spinal cord. Ideally, an epidural protects from pain by numbing the lower part of the body as it blocks the signals from the motor and sensory nerves. Epidurals have many side effects whereby a C-section might become mandatory. With epidural administration, women are not able to move, and it might impair them and their babies from assuming a suitable position.
4. Shoulder Dystocia:
If a woman is suspected to be bearing a big baby, they are mostly induced before 40 weeks because there is an increased likelihood that the baby’s shoulder would get stuck in the pelvis. It is a case of shoulder dystocia, which occurs between 0.5% to 1.5% of births. Most women are induced to prevent the shoulder getting stuck if they are delivering a big baby. But the induction may cause other problems in that the strong contractions would not make the baby pass through the pelvis freely.
5. If the pelvis is not shaped well:
Most women have the right pelvis, but some women do have pelvises that are neither big nor have enough room in them. Such a condition might make labor difficult, but that does not preclude her from birthing vaginally. The condition, whereby a baby doesn’t fit through the pelvis, is called cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD, which is a very rare case and is not diagnosed before the labor progresses. Also, if a mother has had a congenital abnormality or pelvic injury, a CPD is not considered. But once the condition is figured out, the caregivers might think about strengthening contractions and employing artificial means to speed up labor which can, in turn, trigger a fetal distress and eventually an unavoidable C-section.
The best way to help your baby have an optimal presentation is to watch how you are positioned during labor. In fact, it must start right at the time of pregnancy where you should maintain a good posture. You could seek the assistance of a therapist to help you with positioning the baby well. And in all cases, avoid early induction even if your doctor suggests so – i.e. when there is no other complication involved.