Sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. While you can plan every detail of your birth from scheduling the c-section date down to the outfit you and your baby will wear leaving the hospital, you should have a backup plan for an emergency birth.
Going into labor by yourself certainly isn’t an ideal situation. Still, if it happens to you, you should be aware of what to do in this unforeseen emergency.
In this article, we’ll discuss five crucial tips for giving birth alone and give you some advice for home-care postpartum recovery.
1. Know The Signs Of Labor
Do you know the signs of labor?
The best preparation for any delivery is understanding the signs of labor. Here are some labor signals to be aware of:
- The baby “drops” — Your baby moves into position in the pelvis to prepare for birth headfirst, ready to come through the birth canal.
- Your water breaks — This is one of the final signs that the baby is on its way, but it doesn’t always happen for women (15% of births or fewer).
- Regular contractions are getting closer and stronger over time.
- The contractions last 30 – 70 seconds each.
- Diarrhea — While it certainly feels alarming and embarrassing, this is natural. The muscles in your pelvis loosen up to prepare for the birth of your baby. Unfortunately, your rectum loosens too, which may result in diarrhea.
Understanding the signs of labor is vital in preparing for your delivery. If you catch your signs early, you may have enough time to call your support system and still go ahead with your delivery plan with the medical attention you need.
2. Call 9-1-1 For Medical Assistance
If you don’t have anyone around you to get you to the hospital, call 9-1-1 immediately.
If you’re at home, make sure to unlock your door, so that health professionals can come in. It’s also a good idea to turn the porch light on in the evening or early morning, so the ambulance can easily find your home.
In an even more unforeseen scenario where you’re not home, call the local emergency number from your cell phone and turn on your location services to pinpoint your exact location for medical responders.
When you’re on the phone with the dispatch operator, let them know your name and age, how far along your pregnancy is, and the details about your contraction timing.
Try your best to remain calm by focusing on breathing and answering any questions the operator asks of you so they can get you the help you need.
Once you’re off the phone with emergency responders, you should also call your partner, friend, or neighbor to get to you as soon as possible for further assistance while medical help is on its way.
3. Stay Calm And Make Yourself Comfortable
Take deep breaths, and know that you’ve got this.
No matter how panicked you may be feeling at this point, trust that your body is capable of handling childbirth. Two out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States are delivered at home. As long as the baby has dropped into position for birth, delivery will happen very quickly.
To avoid the set in of panic, compile the things you need to make yourself comfortable for birth:
- A bucket of warm water
- Clean towels or sheets to lay on the floor underneath you and another towel nearby for the baby
- Pillows to prop you up
- You’ll also want to clean your hands and the vaginal area thoroughly to prevent infection
4. Don’t Push Unless You Can’t Wait Any Longer
You may want to lay in the bathtub to avoid the mess that comes with childbirth, but you’ll only become difficult to move from the tub when help arrives.
It’s best you prop all your supplies in the living room and do your best with the supplies you have to reduce the mess. Lay down multiple towels, bedsheets, or a shower curtain if you feel you need to.
When you’re settled in a comfortable position, resist the urge to push until help arrives. As you are likely under a lot of pain at this point, try to focus on your breathing to calm yourself. The Lamaze breathing technique is a form of controlled breathing to promote relaxation and comfort popular for labor.
If you can’t wait any longer to push, go ahead and do it. You’re going to feel pressure. Don’t be alarmed as this is your baby’s head and body moving through the birth canal.
5. Tend To Your Baby Until Help Arrives
If help still hasn’t arrived, and your baby can’t wait any longer to join you, you’ll have to deliver on your own.
Gently guide the baby’s head out of your body as you push. Make sure that the umbilical cord isn’t wrapped around the infant’s head or neck by moving the cord out of the way or loosening the loop so the whole body can slip through it.
When your baby is out of your body, do not pull or cut the umbilical cord.
Leave it attached to your baby and the placenta until help arrives. Dry and warm your baby immediately with the clean towel you’ve set aside and let him or her rest on your chest or belly, allowing for skin-to-skin contact for warmth.
There will be a lot of fluids around your baby’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Babies are nose breathers, so you may need to clear his or her nostrils by gently running your fingers down the sides of their nose to clear the airway of mucus.
Your baby should cry at birth, but if they’re not crying, rub their back firmly up and down.
You’ve done it! Your baby is here and help is on the way. All you can do now is keep yourself comfortable and your baby warm until help arrives.
Giving birth alone certainly isn’t ideal, but if you do find yourself in this situation, knowing how to handle labor appropriately is essential to your health and that of your baby. Refer to this guide often before your due date.
Recovering After Delivery
The hard work isn’t over now that your baby is here. There’s still the road of recovery ahead. Postpartum recovery is something we’re here to make sure you don’t go through alone.
Many moms order their Bellefit postpartum girdles and corsets before their due date, so they can start wearing it the day after labor to jump-start their postpartum recovery while swelling is at its peak.
Our girdles and corsets are designed for the female post-pregnancy recovery in mind. There are eight styles to choose from in sizes XS – 3XL for the most extensive range of FDA-registered postpartum garments on the market.
Bounce-back to your pre-pregnancy self sooner than you thought with the help our postpartum garments, and you’ll never have to feel like you’re recovering on your own.