Each year millions of babies are born. In fact, in 2020, there were 3.6 million babies born in the United States. Along with all those babies comes questions about preparing for delivery and making pregnancy as enjoyable as possible.
Dr. Allison Patterson, Obstetrics & Gynecology
For answers, we spoke with board-certified OB-GYN Dr. Alison Patterson. Dr. Patterson completed her Doctor of Medicine and residency in OB-GYN at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and currently practices in Denver, CO. In addition, she's a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Tips To Make the Most of Pregnancy
A typical pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks. While that may seem like a long time, Dr. Patterson reminds us, "It is important to live these 40 weeks with the realization that pregnancy is a very temporary state." She also recommends getting your support system set up early. "One way to help make the most of your pregnancy is to "find a physician or midwife that you feel is easy to communicate with, understands and prioritizes your goals, and that you ultimately trust."
In addition, Dr. Patterson said, "This is a time to focus on mindfulness and be your healthiest self in both mind and body. I remind women daily that their bodies are designed for pregnancy. Women are so strong, and pregnancy is a time for women to feel and embrace that strength both physically and mentally." But that doesn't mean pregnancy is always easy. Fortunately, there are products specifically designed to make pregnancy more comfortable.
To make the most of your pregnancy, focus on your and your baby's well-being. Dr. Patterson said, "Embracing mindfulness will enhance health during pregnancy." She also pointed out that "women have the ability to be fully present and aware of their experiences through their senses, thoughts, and emotions. Mindfulness is also a wonderful way to connect with a developing baby."
3 Things OB-GYNs Want You To Know
There's a lot to think about when you're pregnant and no shortage of information between books and the internet or friends and family. We asked Dr. Patterson what she wished patients knew about pregnancy and delivery. Here's what she shared:
- The birth of your first child is often the hardest thing a woman may experience in life, and each woman will get through it. It is important to understand that deliveries are extremely hard work and require a team of support. This team should include, but of course, is not limited to, a loved one, a registered labor and delivery nurse and a licensed physician or midwife.
- We must always remember that the baby is in "charge" and that deliveries can not be "planned". A birth plan is important to think over and should include goals and elements to ensure the experience is positive for the mother. These birth plans should not be restrictive and should always be able to be adjusted during the process of labor and delivery.
- Trust that with the arrival of your newborn, your long pregnancy and delivery experience will be behind you. You will hold your newborn in your arms and feel such accomplishment, joy and pride.
Time To Prepare for Delivery
We've all seen a movie or TV show depicting the panicked parent rushing around packing a bag and speeding towards the hospital in preparation for delivery. In reality, delivery is rarely that rushed. In addition to the months leading up to delivery, most moms' bodies give plenty of warning signs that their baby is on the way.
No matter how you show up for your delivery, Dr. Patterson tells expecting parents, "Trust in yourselves as parents. Believe in yourself to make the right decisions for your newborn and acknowledge your parental instincts."
What To Know About C-sections
To some women, the possibility of a C-section is scary, while other women request a C-section. Either way, a C-section is the only option for thousands of women each year. No matter how you feel about C-sections, it can be helpful to understand why and when a C-section is the preferred option. Dr. Patterson explains, "C-sections are performed for various reasons and rates depending on where you deliver and how high-risk the pregnancy may be."
Common reasons to perform a C-section include:
- The fetus is malpresenting (breech or transverse presentation)
- Arrest of dilation during labor
- Arrest of descent during pushing
- The fetus does not tolerate the stress of labor
- Placenta previa
- Multiple gestations
- Additional high-risk pregnancy conditions.
"I think it is very important for women to prepare for a vaginal birth, but understand a C-section could be recommended for either the health of mother or baby." Dr. Patterson said.
If you have a C-section, it's important to remember that you may need more time to recover. If possible, have support available to care for you while you heal and care for your new baby. In addition, there are products available to aid your recovery.
Unless you're an OB-GYN, childbirth is not an everyday occurrence. It's normal to feel an array of emotions at every step of the pregnancy journey. Finding a board-certified OB-GYN who you can connect and communicate openly with can make all the difference. As Dr. Patterson puts it to her clients, "my three goals for them and their family: healthy baby, healthy mom and a positive experience they will treasure." Through all the planning, anticipation, and preparation, the ultimate goal is a healthy mom and baby.