Contractions Might Not Hurt, But These Might.
Has anyone ever told you about the things BESIDES contractions that might be a tad uncomfortable or hurt during labor? We have all heard about labor pains, but I don’t think LABOR AND DELIVERY pains are talked about often.
Here are 5 things to prep yourself for, and a few tips for handling them!
1) Hospital Blood Pressure Cuff- ok, seriously… these things are SO uncomfortable. At most hospitals, they are fairly mandatory- especially if you are medicated in any way other than antibiotics. That said- if you are going all-natural and only have an IV line? Ask your nurse to take your BP when she comes in the room to check on you. If you have an epidural or are on labor inducing medications and have to be continuously monitored- ask your nurse what you can do to make things less uncomfortable. They know lots of tricks and can adjust things custom to you!
2) Penicillin IV for Group B Strep- Group B Strep Positive? Penicillin is likely coming your way. What nobody talks about? Penicillin IV’s tend to burn! If you are going to have to have a few doses of these (standard protocol is at least 2 per ACOG), ask your nurse if she can run the IV drip VERY slowly so it doesn’t burn. Usually that does the trick!
3) Cervical Exams/Dilation Checks- These are up to you mom! Be sure to specify in your birth plan if you want frequent (usually every hour or two) cervical exams, or if you would like to be checked upon request. Most providers can accomodate this UNLESS an intervention is imminent- then they typically need to know where in the process you are holding to make proper decisions for your care. Know though, you can always decline a cervical exam, and relaxing as much as possible during one can really help with the discomfort!
4) The Lidocaine Shot BEFORE the Epidural- When an epidural is placed, a shot of local anesthetic is typically given first- prior to navigating the needle into your epidural space. Be prepared that this is a bit of a necessary evil, not something you would probably WANT to decline even if you had the option. However, it is good to know it does sting a bit, and will likely hurt worse than the actual epidural catheter going in. Positive note- typically once its in… Its smooth sailing and relief city for you! Win!!
5) Stitches AFTER baby is born to repair a tear- EVERY MOM should include in her birth plan whether or not she wants to have local pain relief for any repairs after delivery. I know this sounds like a given, but for minor tears- it isn’t always the case. Especially if an epidural is wearing off and the provider assumes you are still receiving some relief! Be sure to specify your preference. The local anesthetic can sting a bit, but is far less uncomfortable than the stitches! Of course, not all moms tear or require this repair- but it is good to note it in your birth plan just in case.