birth preferences
Labour & birth

Outlining your birth preferences

Paula Barry, Research Midwife at the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital explains why outlining your birth preferences can help you to communicate your goals and wishes to the team helping you with your baby’s labour and delivery.

Your birth partner

  • Who will accompany you in labour?
  • Are there times during labour that you would prefer your birth partner to leave the room?
  • When you are in labour would you like to talk to your partner in private about interventions that may be suggested?

Birth environment

  • Have you discussed the delivery suite environment with your doctor/ midwife?
  • Have you been able to go on a tour of the delivery suite?
  • Have you thought about some personal items that you may wish to bring with you to help you cope in labour?

Coping in labour/birth

  • Have you thought about ways of managing labour pain?
  • Have you discussed these with your doctor/midwife?
  • Do you want to remain upright and mobile for as long as possible?
  • Have you thought about the position in which you would feel most comfortable giving birth?
  • Have you discussed with your doctor/ midwife the various birthing aides available to you in the delivery suite?

Monitoring your baby’s heartbeat

  • Have you discussed the various ways in which your baby’s heartbeat may be monitored?
  • Do you understand the reasons why your baby may need continuous heart rate monitoring?

Birth

  • Have you thought about the moment of ‘birth’?
  • Would you like to touch/see (with a mirror) your baby’s head when he/ she is about to be born?
  • Would you like the midwife to encourage you by verbally instructing you on how and when to push, or would you like to push instinctively if possible?
  • If you had a Caesarean Section for a previous birth, have you considered a vaginal birth for this pregnancy?

Episiotomy

  • Have you discussed with your doctor/midwife situations where an episiotomy may be necessary?
  • How do you feel about episiotomy?

Third stage (delivery of the placenta)

  • Do you want a managed third stage?
  • Would you prefer a natural third stage?
  • Have you discussed both with your doctor/midwife to ascertain which may be safest for you? SKIN TO SKIN/FEEDING
  • Do you want your baby to be placed on your abdomen/chest after birth?
  • Have you discussed with your doctor/midwife the importance of early breastfeeding?

birth preferences

Vitamin K

  • Have you discussed the reasons why it is recommended that Vitamin K be administered to your baby?
  • Have you discussed the methods by which Vitamin K can be administered?

Induction of labour

  • Are you aware of the reasons why your labour may need to be induced?
  • What are your thoughts on induction of labour?
  • Have you discussed induction of labour with your doctor/midwife?

Speeding up labour

  • Are you aware of the reasons why it may be necessary to ‘speed up’ your labour? Have you discussed with your doctor/midwife what this may entail?

Unexpected outcomes

  • Have you discussed with your doctor/ midwife if a concern arises with you or your baby and an intervention such as a vacuum, forceps or C-section is necessary?
  • Have you discussed with your doctor/midwife that if a Caesarean section is necessary the possibility of you needing to have a general anaesthetic?
  • Have you discussed with your doctor/ midwife that if a C-section is necessary the possibility of your partner accompanying you to theatre?

Early transfer home / community midwifery service

  • Have you discussed the possibility of you being able to avail of this service with your doctor/midwife?

Special needs

  • Have you had a past experience that may affect your labour/birth?
  • Do you have a disability that you want to discuss with your team?
  • Do you need a special diet after the birth?
  • If you have religious needs, please discuss them with your doctor/ midwife.

More like this:

Everything you need to know about labour positions
Maternity options in Ireland
Hospital bag checklist

ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….