Open Accessibility Menu

Child Birth Preparation

The Family Birth Place Serving the West Bank of New Orleans

There is a lot to learn as you prepare for the birth of your child. This is an event unlike any other and it is important that you have some idea of what to expect in order to create your birth plan. At West Jefferson Medical Center we offer several classes to help expectant parents get ready for the big day.

How to time your contractions

As you get close to your anticipated due date, you may start feeling uterine contractions. These practice contractions or false labor can begin as early as 30 to 34 weeks gestation. These practice contractions are usually irregular and vary in duration. Timing your contractions can help you and your physician decide if you are in labor or “just practicing”.

Timing your contractions is not difficult. You will need a pen or pencil, a piece of paper and a clock or watch with a second hand. When you first feel a contraction, write down the time it started. When the contraction ends write down the time it ended. When the next contraction starts write down the time it starts and stops. Continue this process for 30 to 60 minutes. The definitions and diagram below illustrate this process.

  • Contraction Frequency: the time from the start of one contraction to the start of the next contraction
  • Contraction duration: the length of time from the start of a contraction to the end of that contraction
  • Contraction regularity: the difference in the contraction pattern. Contractions are considered regular when each contraction is about the same duration or length and occur about the same time apart.

West Jeff Family Birth Place Contractions

If you think you may be having contractions lie down or sit down with your feet up and time your contractions for at least 30 minutes. If you’re already laying down, get up and walk around and time the contractions. Remember, contractions before 37 weeks could signal premature labor, especially if five or more contractions occur in one hour. Do not wait! Let your physician know what is happening. Follow his or her instructions. Remember to stay hydrated.

West Bank breastfeeding support

Breastfeeding is a convenient and natural way to provide your baby with the nutrition it needs. However, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it always comes easy. Many women have trouble getting their babies to breastfeed, which is why many birth centers, including West Jefferson Medical Center, offer breastfeeding support services.

Breastfeeding benefits

Breastfeeding your child is a personal choice, one not all mothers do. That said, there are numerous benefits to breastfeeding. Breast milk contains the vitamins and nutrients your new baby needs and it is easier on their digestive system than a store-bought formula. Natural breast milk also contains antibodies that help strengthen your baby’s immune system. Research has shown that breastfeeding can also help prevent SIDS (sudden instant death syndrome).

There are benefits for moms as well. Breastfeeding helps shed off pregnancy weight, heal the uterus, and lower risks of ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. You will also save money on bottles and baby formula.

Positioning your baby

Have you ever thought about how you will hold your baby while you feed them? There are three widely-used breastfeeding positions designed to help mother and child feel comfortable and relaxed.

The primary breastfeeding positions include:

  • Cradle Position – In this position, you will hold your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow with his belly pressed up against your body. You can wrap your other arm around your baby’s head to support their head and neck.
  • Football Position – Strange as it may sound, holding your baby like a football is one of the more popular methods of breastfeeding. You place the baby along your forearm with their hand and neck supported by your palm. Women with sensitive stomachs or those who are recovering from a cesarean birth often use this position.
  • Side-lying Position – If you’re feeling tired and need to lie down, the side-lying position will allow you to rest while feeding your baby. In this position, you lie down and hold your baby close. When your baby latches, you can support their head with your hand so that they can feel comfortable while feeding.

Be patient, it’s not always easy!

Difficulty breastfeeding is very common. We have seen many mothers become distraught when they have difficulty breastfeeding, but this is nothing to be ashamed of. Every baby is different and not all of them will have an easy time figuring out how to latch. It is not a statement about your or your child, it’s just something you can both learn together. Be sure to sign up for our breastfeeding class for help from experienced lactation specialists.

What to expect while recovering from pregnancy

Following delivery, your body begins a four to six week process of returning to a non-pregnant state. Some of these changes will be obvious, others will not. To help you be more comfortable and minimize or prevent problems, you should plan to include the following in your daily activities:

Balance rest and activities

Especially during the first couple of weeks after the baby is born, the majority of your time should be spent at home taking care of your baby and yourself. Get as much rest and sleep as you can. Rest or sleep when the baby does. Limit your visitors. Consider asking friends and relatives for help with household tasks such as cooking or washing clothes. As you feel better, gradually increase your activities.

Be prepared for the “Baby Blues”

As your body returns to its non-pregnant state and you adjust to your new family, you may experience mood swings, crying spells and feelings of being overwhelmed. Talk about these feelings with the baby’s father, your doctor, or someone you feel comfortable talking with. For most new mothers, the “baby blues” are hardly noticeable and last only a few days. If you are concerned about “baby blues”, contact your physician. While being a new parent is hard work, it should be an exciting and enjoyable time.

Eat right

A balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, and liquids will help prevent constipation, minimize fatigue and assist your body’s return to its non-pregnant state. Ask your physician if you should continue taking your prenatal vitamins or other supplements.

See your doctor

Medical care after the baby is born is just as important as care before the baby is born. Seeing your doctor after the baby is born will allow him to identify and treat minor problems before they become serious. Be sure you know when he wants you to return to the office following delivery. If you have any problems before that office visit, don’t wait. Be sure to contact your physician if you notice any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Foul or unusual odor from the vaginal discharge
  • Return of a red or bloody vaginal discharge after it had stopped
  • Increasing pain or discomfort in your abdomen, perineal area or stitches
  • Redness or pain in the breast

For more information on The Family Birth Place at West Jefferson Medical Center, call us at 504.349.6200.

Related locations