Tuesday, February 11, 2014


What are the expectations of a family facing childbirth?

For some moms - it is the hope that she will not have to feel much of the labor and that she will have the time to get an epidural in fairly quickly.   With some it is the hope that no interventions will be needed and the birth will proceed unmedicated.

Some have a breech baby at 37 weeks - expecting the baby to turn - or others expecting to schedule a surgical birth.

Especially for a first time couple - expectations can be high.  And with some families - can feel very rigid - concerned that if something doesn't go as expected, there will be a domino effect into difficult decisions.

Because birth is an unpredictable process, expectations can easily be unrealized.   Perhaps the due date is passed and an induction starts the labor.  Perhaps a mom's water breaks with no labor following.  Perhaps the baby gets into a difficult position causing a slower labor.  Perhaps the day the labor starts, the favorite doctor is not on duty, etc, etc.

So is it a bad idea to have expectations for a birth?  No - a vision or goal is always a good idea when facing childbirth.  I think it is very helpful for a family to envision how they would like their labor to proceed.  Having a vision can cause a family to have more patience in allowing labor to happen or can encourage a family to include a support team such as a doula for the birth.

But having a "frame" around the vision that is very inflexible or solid can cause expectations to be unrealized and therefore  a family may have a bad feeling about the birth later - an unhappy birth memory.  What can you do if expectations are not realized?  Check out my next post.