Labour Emergencies & How to Avoid Them

pregnancy childbirth

Birth is the miracle that takes place every single day. While most childbirths go according to plan, it is important to understand that there are unexpected events and labour emergencies that can happen. It is good to be aware of what these are so that you can reduce stress, find ways to increase the chances of a smooth birth and understand the risks. Keep reading to find out more.

Managing Stress

First, it is helpful to know how to manage stress during labour. Obviously, labour is something that is painful and stressful, but there are things that you can do to reduce your stress levels and could help to move things along. Being prepared is the best way to reduce stress, so attending birth classes and doing plenty of research is key. You should also practice rhythmic breathing, try to set a peaceful atmosphere in the delivery room and avoid watching the clock (it will take as long as it takes!).

Emergency Situations

So, what are a few of the emergency situations that can arise during labour? The main cause of a labour emergency is foetal distress, which is when the baby is not coping with the labour and can result in abnormalities in the heart rate and often comes from problems related to the mother’s condition. Extra fluids can help but if not then an emergency caesarean or birth assisted with forceps can be used.

The position of the baby can also cause an emergency situation during labour. If the baby is not in the best position (or it is too big for the pelvis) and this is accompanied by foetal distress then an emergency caesarean is often required. Blood loss can also be an issue with anything above 500ml in the first 24 hours after birth being classified as a postpartum haemorrhage. Emergency treatment can involve an injection to contract the uterus, intravenous fluids and sutures for episiotomy wounds.

Managing Emergencies

Obviously, these situations are very scary and stressful, but most births go according to plan. You should also place your trust in the medical professionals and understand that this is what they do every day so they will be calm and well prepared. If there are problems with the birth that result in harm to the baby or the mother, you can make a claim. Brain injury claims can be made if the baby suffers a brain injury as a result of negligent care and this compensation can help to cover the damages sustained. 

It is perfectly natural to feel stress and anxiety before and during labour, but it is important to try and remain calm for your own well-being and to improve the chances of a smooth and successful labour experience.