Birth Preparation Exercise

Comfort Options in Childbirth

Most women planning for a natural childbirth are hoping to avoid most medical procedures. For some women, the choice to use a medication or procedure during labor will become the best choice for a healthy outcome. Sometimes that leaves a mother feeling helpless, let down or a failure. However, it is important to remember you do still have options if the best choice is not a natural childbirth.

Having a realistic expectation of the options available during labor will help you be ready to continue using the tools and techniques for natural childbirth if you decide a medical procedure is right for you. This exercise will help you prepare to successfully integrate medical options if necessary.

Every option you use will change the way you are able to use comfort measures and techniques for labor. Each option will also change the needs you have for comfort measures and the reasons you would use them. Answer the question in each of these scenarios to help you discover what comfort measures and techniques you can still use if you decide natural birth is not the best choice. Use the Comfort Measures and the Birth Planning sections for resources if necessary.

If you could be anywhere and do anything while you labor for your baby, where would you be and what would you do?

Now you can do anything, but you have to be in a hospital while you labor, what will change about what would you do, or could do?

Now in the hospital, you have an IV attached and must move the IV pole with you. What will change about the discomforts you experience, and what techniques can you use to manage your discomfort?

Now, you have to be monitored and have an IV. These restrict your mobility, but you can still move about 3-4 feet around the monitor. How might your comfort needs change, and what can you do to manage your discomfort?

Now you have to stay in the bed because you have received a medication that limits your mobility. You also have a monitor and an IV. How will your comfort needs change for this labor if the medication is effective at blocking your pain? How can you manage those needs?

How will your comfort needs change for this labor if the medication is not effective at blocking your pain? What can you do to manage your discomfort?

Review Your Work

As you worked through the scenarios, what changed about your needs?

As you worked through the scenarios, were you surprised about any of the comfort measures you thought might be helpful?

Did you identify a need that was present in all, or most of the scenarios? What was it and how do you anticipate meeting the need?

How can you be better prepared to use comfort measures if you decide a medical procedure is the safest option for you and your baby?