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10 Important Things To Discuss with Your Doctor Before Labour and Delivery

Chief Editor | Published on September 18, 2023

Preparing for labor and delivery is a crucial step in ensuring a smooth childbirth experience. Open communication with your OBGYN is key. Here are 10 important topics to discuss with your doctor before you enter the labour room.

1. Your Preference Towards Assisted Delivery

Vaginal delivery or planned caesarean section (C-section) is a big decision, and one you are likely to have already made by now. If you’ve opted to try for a vaginal birth, decide how comfortable you are with assisted delivery. Some mothers emphasise that they want to give birth unassisted unless medically necessary. The decision is not entirely up to you — your medical history, physical condition and your baby’s health will determine what choice you have — but you can definitely communicate your preference to your doctor.

2.Anaesthesia in the Case of an Emergency C-section

Do you want to stay awake during the operation? This will determine the type of anaesthesia used (regional or general anaesthesia) during the operation. Be aware that in some cases, your doctor may decide that general anaesthesia is necessary.

3. Your Pain Relief Preference

Some mothers want to experience childbirth unmedicated, while others are concerned they can’t handle the pain. If you want pain relief, research your options, talk to your doctor and determine which kind you prefer and how much control you want to have regarding dosage. If you are certain you want an epidural, ask your doctor about the specific process for requesting this, either before or during labour, so that an anaesthetist is on call and available.

4. The People You Want to Stay with You During Labour

Most women want their partner by their side; some may also want a doula. Some mothers who already have children might want them to be in the room. First, check with your doctor and hospital to see how many people are allowed in the delivery suite and operating theatre (in case of a C-section).

5. Your Preferred Position to Give Birth

Lying down, kneeling, standing, semi-sitting — discuss this with your obstetrician or midwife. Some pain medication will make certain positions impossible, so do take that into consideration.

6. Your Attitude towards Episiotomy

Episiotomy is sometimes a need more than a preference, but if you would rather try other methods to prevent perineum tears before resorting to episiotomy, you need to let your doctor know. Once the baby’s head is visible, your midwife may help you control the rhythm of pushing so the perineum has time to stretch to prevent tearing. Massaging the perineum from Week 35 of the pregnancy may also reduce the likelihood of tears.

7. Keeping the Placenta

Placenta encapsulation seems to have increased in popularity in Singapore, and if you wish to keep the placenta for religious or personal reasons, let your doctor know before labour.

8. Keeping the Cord Blood

If you intend to bank your baby’s cord blood, let your doctor know before labour so it’s collected rather than thrown away. There is no risk involved — but you need to make arrangements with a public or private cord blood bank beforehand.

9. Skin-to-skin Contact with Your Baby

Many mothers would like to hold their bundle of joy right after giving birth and there is evidence that skin-to-skin contact can benefit baby’s emotional well-being, mother-and-child bonding and breastfeeding.

10. Breastfeeding Decisions

If you plan to start breastfeeding right after birth and do not want a pacifier or formula for your baby, let your doctor and midwife know. Aside from communicating your wishes to your doctor verbally, you can also make a birth plan that includes your preferences regarding all of the above and any other decisions important to you.

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