5 Tips to Have an Empowered High-Risk Birth

Image: adapted from Flickr/marissa
Image: adapted from Flickr/marissa

If I could choose how I would labor and delivery this child — my current plan is far from what I would have chosen. My ideal would be to have chill midwife follow my care, who didn't worry about weight gain or making sure I make every appointment on time. I would love to have an office where I could make the appointment times work for me and my family and feel no anxiety going. I would love to be setting up my house right now with all the supplies needed to have a midwife-attended home water birth. I want to see the pool set up in my bedroom, gathering all the essentials that would make the experience calm and perfect in my eyes. I want to have discussions with my children about how baby will come when he's ready and answer all the questions they have about labor and birth as if they were going to be right there with me. That's my ideal — but that's not what I am going to get, nor have I ever been able to experience in my past labors and deliveries. 

It's because of all of these points that my ideal dream labor and birth are considered too risky by myself, my partner, and the medical professionals.

I am considered “high risk” when it comes to pregnancy, partly because of my history with repeated miscarriage, the reasons for those miscarriages, the medication needed to help continue a pregnancy, as well as some maternal complications that come up when I am gestating. It's because of all of these points that my ideal dream labor and birth are considered too risky by myself, my partner, and the medical professionals. I am seen by a obstetrician as well as followed by other specialists including a genetics counselor, urologist, pediatric cardiologist, and a hematologist.  I have had to be medically induced for all of my other labors and this time around we will be giving birth via a planned c-section — all medically necessary and all high-risk. 

I love the idea of a home birth in a relaxed setting because not only does it have less stress with it, but I imagine it can help the laboring woman feel very in control and very empowered. A trust in their body and the process that just makes the whole thing that more magical and well, less medical. It has taken me some time to get past the realization that my situation is what it is and I need to make the most of it — which is possible.

If you're having a high-risk birth and you'd still like to feel empowered and in control, here are some ways I have been able to do so in my births:

pregnant woman at home
Image via iStock

Write a birth plan: Yes, even if you're going to be induced or having a c-section a birth plan is important. Be sure to include how you wish to be induced or which way you'd like to be numbed for your c-section. Outline your desires to do skin-to-skin right away, delaying the cord clamping, and any of the after birth procedures your hospital does. You can discuss all these plans ahead of time with your doctor and the nurses who will be attending your labor and birth.

pregnant woman getting an ultrasound
Image via iStock

Find an OB who will be flexible: Even if you're high-risk, you don't have to be with an OB who is uncaring and doesn't listen. In one of your first few meetings, talk about what you'd like to get out of the doctor/patient relationship, talk about how they care for high-risk patients. Talk about what appointments, tests, and procedures are necessary and be sure to get the why's, pros, and cons. 

Image via Flickr/a4gpa
Image via Flickr/a4gpa

Ask for a gentle c-section: A gentle c-section is an option more and more hospitals are advocating for and it's something you can ask for. It's a way to allow for immediate skin-to-skin instead of placing the baby in a warmer, a nurse, your support person, or partner helps you hold your newborn right to your chest as the OB finishes up the c-section close up. Skin-to-skin is something I really don't want to miss out on and I will be doing what I can to have this option available to me when my c-section happens. 

Image via Flickr/seanmcgrath
Image via Flickr/seanmcgrath

 

Advocate for what you want: You need to speak up for yourself and while it's important to understand there may be limitations because of your high-risk pregnancy, your doctor won't know what you're hoping for if you don't ask and discuss the options. Be sure to talk about why something is important to you and how you can all work together to make it happen. 

Image via Flickr/enderst07
Image via Flickr/enderst07

Ask questions, a lot: This is an important tip for any pregnant woman, but it can feel even more so if you don't feel in control of your options and what's going on if you're in a high-risk situation. There is no such thing as a silly question and if it's on your mind, speak up and ask — even if you've asked before. You will feel a lot more in control if you know what to expect and what's coming up.

:: Did you find your medical interventions birth to be empowered and did you feel in control? Share in the comments! ::

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5 Tips to Have an Empowered High-Risk Birth

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of Cheryl Cheryl says:

    You really should have someone edit your articles for grammatical errors. It’s hard to take any advice from someone with such poor writing skills.

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