Complications During Childbirth

Childbirth is a wonderful time where your 9 months of hard work finally present you with your little bundle of joy! Make sure you enter the birthing room with all the facts in place, and a good knowledge of any of the complications that may arise during labour.

Breech baby
If your baby is in a breech position, it means that they are positioned to come out bum or feet first. If your doctor identifies it early, they may be able to perform an external cephalic version (ECV), applying pressure to your tummy to manually manipulate your baby to turn. If this is not an option or doesn’t work, a C-section will most likely be scheduled, depending on your preferences, your doctor’s expertise or your situation.

Emergency home birth
Although this is a highly unlikely complication, you might find yourself with a fast and furious delivery before you reach the hospital. In these situations, phone for an ambulance to come immediately, find someone close to help you, phone your doctor for some guidance, and prepare yourself in a comfortable sitting or lying position with lots of towels, blankets or sheets close by. Try to ward off the overwhelming urge to push by panting, using breathing techniques or lying on your side, until you reach a hospital.

Nuchal cord
A nuchal cord refers to the umbilical cord being wrapped around your baby’s neck. It happens in around 25% of births, and is only a serious complication if your baby’s heart rate goes down for a long time. Doctors are usually able to give the cord some slack by applying pressure, but in more serious cases, the options are to help the baby along with forceps, a vacuum extractor or a C-section.

Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)
If your baby’s head is too big to pass through your pelvis, it is referred to as cephalopelvic disproportion. In this case, your doctor will most probably resort to a C-section. Keeping your weight gain within recommended guidelines is the only way to help prevent CPD from occurring. This lowers your chances of developing gestational diabetes, which in turn reduces the risk of a larger baby.

Placenta previa
When the placenta is covering the cervix, it’s known as Placenta previa. This is a common occurrence in early pregnancy, but usually fixes itself by childbirth. However, if at 36 weeks it is still the case, a C-section will be scheduled. In the event of vaginal bleeding, a C-section will be done immediately to avoid significant blood loss.

Meconium Aspiration
If there is meconium in the amniotic fluid that your baby has inhaled, it is referred to as Meconium Aspiration. This happens in 10 percent of labours, and usually only if your little one is a week or more overdue. Of that rate of incidence, only 1-6 percent of babies fall ill from it. If this occurs, the doctor or midwife will clear the meconium from your baby’s nose and mouth, and in the event of your little one inhaling it, they’ll go into intensive care for observation.

Other links you might like:
Preparing for Labour