Parenting Lesson 6 - Readying for the baby (Trimester 3 - Part I)

Questions covered in this lesson-

  1. What happens during child labor?

  2. What does water breaking means?

  3. Telling your other child about coming sibling

  4. What's the best way to help my child prepare for a baby brother or sister?

  5. Till what month of pregnancy I can travel?

What happens during child labor?

There are 3 stages of child labor -

● 1st stage of labor

● 2nd stage of labor

● 3rd stage of labor

1st stage of labor

During the 1st stage of labor, contractions make your cervix gradually open. It is generally the longest stage of labor. At the start of labor, your cervix starts to soften so it can open. This is called the latent phase and you may feel irregular contractions. It can take many hours, or even days before you're in established labor. Established labor is when your cervix has dilated to about 4cm and regular contractions are opening your cervix. During the latent phase, it's a good idea to have something to eat and drink because you'll need energy for when labor is established.

2nd stage of labor

The second stage begins when the cervix is 10cm open or fully dilated and ends with the birth of the baby. The second stage usually takes place within three hours for women having their first babies, and within two hours if you have had a baby before. Contractions in the second stage are usually shorter than in transition, with a longer space in between them. Some women experience a temporary lull in contractions, which is nature's way of letting the body recover. Take this opportunity to rest and build up your energy stores for pushing.

3rd stage of labor

After your baby is born, more contractions will make the womb contract and push out the placenta. This usually takes between 10 minutes and 60 minutes depending on how you choose to deliver the placenta. The process is helped by the baby sucking and nuzzling at the breast, as this gives the body another surge of oxytocin which helps contract the womb and reduces the amount of blood loss.

There are 2 ways to manage this stage of labor:

  1. A drug called Syntometrine or Syntocinon is given by injection into your leg to help the uterus contract.

  2. Physiological – This is when the placenta is delivered naturally by the uterus contracting without the injection. The Midwife will not cut the cord until it has stopped pulsating and you will need to give a few gentle pushes to help push the placenta out.

What does water breaking mean?

During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac. Typically, at the beginning of or during labor, your membranes will rupture — also known as your water breaking. If your water breaks before labor starts, it's called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM). Previously it was known as premature rupture of membranes.

When your water breaks you might experience a sensation of wetness in your vagina or on your perineum, an intermittent or constant leaking of small amounts of watery fluid from your vagina, or a more obvious gush of clear or pale yellow fluid.

If you're uncertain whether your water has broken, call your healthcare provider or head to your delivery facility right away. Your doctor or a member of your health care team will give you a physical exam to determine if you're leaking amniotic fluid. In some cases, an ultrasound might be done to check your amniotic fluid volume. You and your baby will be evaluated to determine the next steps.

Typically, after your water breaks at term, labor soon follows — if it hasn't already begun.

Telling your other child about coming sibling?

Toddlers - Ages 1 To 2 Years

Children of this age will not understand much about what it means to have a new brother or sister.

  1. However, let your child hear you talk about the "new baby" and feel your excitement. She may not understand why you are excited, but your attitude will rub off on her and she will feel excited too.

  2. Look at picture books about a new baby. At the very least, your child will become familiar with words like "sister," "brother," and "new baby."

  3. When the new baby arrives, try to do something special for your older child. Reassure her that she is still loved.

Preschoolers - Ages 2 To 4 Years

Preschoolers may be very sensitive to change and may feel threatened by the idea of a new family member. Here are some suggestions that may help ease your preschooler into being a big brother or big sister.

  1. Wait a while before telling your preschooler about the baby. Explain it to your child when you start buying nursery furniture or baby clothes or if he starts asking about mom's growing "stomach."

  2. Explain that the baby will be cute and cuddly but will also cry and take a lot of your time and attention.

  3. Picture books for preschoolers can be very helpful. Try to tell your child before he hears about the new baby from someone else.

  4. Involve your preschooler in planning for the baby. This will make him less jealous.

  5. Set aside special time for your older child. Read, play games, listen to music, or simply talk together.

  6. Ask family and friends to spend a little time with your older child when they come to see the new baby. This will help him feel special and not left out of all the excitement

  7. Have your older child spend time with dad. A new baby presents a great opportunity for fathers to spend time alone with older children.

School-Aged Children - Ages 5 and above

  1. Children older than 5 years are usually not as threatened by a new baby as younger children are. However, they may resent the attention the new baby gets. To prepare your school-aged child for a new baby,

  2. Tell your child what is happening in a language she can understand. Explain what having a new baby means and what changes may affect her—both the good and the not so good.

  3. Have your older child help get things ready for the new baby.

  4. Have your older child come to the hospital soon after the baby is born so she feels part of the growing family.

  5. Making you older child feel that she has a role to play in caring for the baby

  6. Do not overlook your older child's needs and activities. Let her know how much you love her. Make an effort to spend some time alone with her each day.

What's the best way to help my child prepare for a baby brother or sister?

As soon as you tell others, you should also tell your child about it too even if your child doesn’t understand. Because, even if you tell everybody that it’s a secret, they may forget or you may not see them for a week, and they’ll assume that you told everyone and they will come to your house, walk up to your child and say, “Aren’t you excited about having a new baby brother or sister?”

You will never want that to happen. So best is to tell your child first about his upcoming brother or sister. Every child is different and jealousy is different amongst children. For some children, the jealousy will be immediate. In fact, sometimes the jealousy is toward the unborn child and the older child will make it very clear that she is not looking forward to the baby at all; she wants it to go away.

Sometimes jealousy rears its head when the baby starts to smile and becomes more interactive and the adults are cooing and making nice over the baby. Some children will not exhibit signs of insecurity or jealousy for several months because the new baby is sleeping or being quiet. When the baby is screaming, that’s not really threatening to them because they know that bothers mom and dad.

So to help your child to get over this jealousy and insecurity you should always ensure that they get their share of attention.

● The best thing is for mom and dad to make special one-on-one time every day, maybe even twice a day, for the oldest child that is sacrosanct, especially if that child is exhibiting insecurity early on. They need to ensure that those special times continue after the new baby arrives. This is especially true if there are no grandparents in the picture.

● Reading storybooks about new siblings, visiting friends who have newborns, and including the eldest child in the preparations for the baby are all terrific ideas.

Till what month of pregnancy can I travel?

During a healthy pregnancy, it's generally safe to travel until 36 weeks. Pregnant women are permitted to fly domestically in their third trimester before the 36th week but your airline might ask for a fitness certificate from your gynaecologist. Some international flights restrict complete travel after 28 weeks.

Before you travel, make sure your pregnancy is progressing without complications. If you're late in your second trimester, have an ultrasound to determine that the placenta isn't covering the cervix (a condition called placenta previa, which occurs in fewer than 1 percent of births).

Even if it’s safe to travel during pregnancy, You should take all precautions while traveling to ensure full safety to you and your baby.

Some of the tips are-

● Keep your seat belt latched below your belly at all times.

● If you’re in the passenger seat, push your seat back completely so that you have enough room to stretch.

● If you’re driving, push the seat back as much as possible for a comfortable seating position.

● Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water on the road.

● Eat healthy snacks to avoid nausea.

● Keep a cushion or a small pillow between the seat and your back to avoid back pain.

● Stop as often as possible to stretch and walk to keep your blood circulating.

Things to avoid-

● Try to avoid long road trips.

● Avoid eating street food.

● Avoid wearing restrictive or tight clothing.

● Avoid taking routes that have bumpy roads.

● As long as possible, avoid traveling alone.

● If you do ride in smaller planes, avoid altitudes above 7000 feet.