A list of common 'birth complications' and their possible natural alternatives

I'm preparing for our third baby, due in October. I've had two natural uncomplicated hospital births that were great! But I feel the need to be better educated in case complications do arise.

What are the complications that arise to cause a medical professional to recommend induction?

What are the complications that arise during labor and birth, including those that would cause a medical professional to recommend a c-section?

What are the possible natural alternatives/solutions to these complications?

Thank you so much! Please share complications you've heard of or experienced, even if you don't have a possible natural alternative--someone else probably does!

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I think one reason a professional might recommend a c-section is fetal heart rate. If the heart rate is in stress you might want to change position and the baby's heart rate may return to normal. Try lying on your left side instead of on your back or even go on your hands and knees. Move and walk around. Sometimes baby's don't respond well to a mother lying on her back all through labor. Unfortunately in most hospitols you are required to lie on your back for the fetal monitor so it is a catch 22.

A medical professional may recommend induction if you've gone past your due date. Here is a great link to a list of natural ways to induce labor naturally. I found that nipple stimulation worked best for me.  I would not try castor oil but the other remedies are very gentle.


What are the complications that arise to cause a medical professional to recommend induction?

Post due dates is a big one(particularly for first time moms).  You can get your baby's heart rate and fluid checked a few times a week rather than just go off of dates.  This can help you go by how baby is doing rather than just the due date.  Also, nipple stimulation is a good way to naturally ripen your cervix or get contractions going.  There are different reports on what is effective with this, but the best research I've found says that rolling your nipples for 15m once an hour works. You can also have your membranes srtipped, but you run the risk of having your water broken or introducing bacteria.   I personally don't like other natural remedies as much for this, as I feel like it is similar to using pitocin to get labor going, but stuff like black cohash or castor oil.  Accupressure is another way that may help.

Other reasons for induction include Diabetes and pre-eclampsia.  You can use the same methods as above, but if you are needing to go earlier than normal, they may not be as effective and prostaglandins may be a better choice, then pitocin.

Large babies are another reason they will want to induce, but there are no reliable ways of getting a good weight on your baby.  Plus, studies have shown that inducing early does not reduce complications.  So really there is no reason to do that statistically.  

Fetal heart rate is another reason.  You can try some of the things mentioned above for that one.  Positioning also helps, but if your baby truly needs to come out, then that may be a reason to do pitocin.

After turning a breech would be another reason.  Again, try nipple stimulation first.  

After your water has broken.  I would recommend staying at home with this one for awhile and see if you can get labor started on your own.  Staying out of the hospital will decrease the number of vag exams and help you relax.  That said, after 18 hours the risk of infection goes up.  

What are the complications that arise during labor and birth, including those that would cause a medical professional to recommend a c-section?

Fetal heart rate is a reason for a c-section.  There are three classes of heart rate.  The really good ones, the iffy ones, and the bad ones.  We are fairly certain that if you have the bad ones, you need a c-section now.  Unfortunately most are the iffy ones, and the fetal heart rate is a poor indicator of how bad it is.  This is more a matter of physician differences.  Some are more likely to call a c-section than others.  So picking your physician is very important.  

Pre-eclampsia would be another reason.  If it's bad enough and labor is not going, it may be better to do a c-section for the safety of both mom and baby.  

The most common reason for a c-section, though, is failure to progress.  Which means you are not going as fast as the hospital thinks you should.  New research that is coming out shows that our view of how fast labor should go is wrong.  My thoughts are that if mom and baby are doing fine emotionally and physically than labor is fine.   

Movement, calm, relaxing environment, having a doula, resting when you can, making sure you are hydrated, these all help with all of these situations. 



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