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Problems during labour | Birth

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Problems during labour

It’s very normal for women to go into labour a little anxious about what will happen. Not only is there the obvious worry about pain associated with contractions or caesarean sections, but there’s also a nagging worry about whether or not the baby will be delivered safely.

There are some complications that could make delivering your baby a little bit more difficult. But with your doctor and/or midwife at your side, your baby should be absolutely fine.

Meconium Aspiration

Meconium is the green-black, tar-like stool that your baby passes shortly after birth. It’s usually a good sign that your baby’s digestive system is working well and should turn into a fairly runny, yellow stool once your baby is born and is feeding.

If you notice that your amniotic fluid has a light green tinge to it, when your waters break, you must tell your doctor immediately. This isn’t necessarily a sign that there’s a problem but as the colour gets darker, it could be a sign that you baby is in distress.

One of the main concerns there is that your baby could inhale the meconium during labour. Because the stool is thick and sticky, it could make it difficult for your baby’s lungs to inflate immediately after birth. This could result in your baby having to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit, until he’s out of danger.

Depending on how far your labour is, your doctor may in this case decide to use forceps, the vacuum extractor or perform a caesarean section to ensure your baby is delivered safely.

Cord Prolapse

Although fairly rare, there’s a possibility that your baby’s umbilical cord will wrap around his neck during labour. This is dangerous as it could cut off your baby’s circulation.

Your doctor will be able to see this, and gently ease the cord away from your baby’s neck as he passes through the birth canal.

Depending on how tight the cord was around your baby’s neck, he may need to be placed on oxygen and spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit, while doctors monitor his condition.

Fetal Distress

Your baby may go into distress during labour, simply out of sheer exhaustion. His heart rate may go down each time you have a contraction, or could shoot up alarmingly high.

Very often this happens because your baby’s oxygen levels are too low.

Your doctor will be monitoring your baby’s heart rate throughout labour, and should he feel that your baby’s survival is at risk, he’ll opt to perform a caesarean section.

With today’s medicine and doctors’ experience and expertise, most difficulties during labour can be overcome. That doesn’t mean you won’t worry; in fact it will probably become the first of a lifetime of concerns you’ll have, while raising your child.

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