What to do during labor, delivery and the moments following childbirth
In the final part of our series on pregnancy and baby life, we find out what you need to do before delivery and what the moments that will take your breath away are really like.
Before and during all the excitement of a baby being born doctors need to see and hear certain signs to make sure everything is okay.
Dr. Steven Morgan, an M.D., OBGYN with Hackensack Meridian Healthcare, says the goal for women is to come in already in labor rather than having to be induced.
"If they have to be induced it's typically for a medical reason or if their postdates," Dr. Morgan said.
Doctors are also trying to make sure women deliver vaginally as opposed to having a c-section.
"Some of the ways we can help increase the vaginal birth rate versus a primary c-section is to allow them to go into labor on their own if possible rather than induce them and allow for a more natural process," Dr. Morgan said.
During the delivery and birth, doctors need to check things off to make sure the baby is healthy.
"The baby is getting oxygen through the bloodstream through the mother. Our blood goes through our lungs to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen, the baby can't do that," Dr. Morgan said. "We want the baby to cry, scream because it opens and closes a couple of valves that allow the baby to now use its lungs."
There are tests doctors need to administer to make sure that happens.
"The first thing we want to do is bulb suction and nasal cavity to make sure there's no fluid in there," Dr. Morgan said. "Then we check the baby's heartbeat, pulse, its tone, and its color to make sure it's turning pink and not blue."
Dr. Morgan also explains that not all babies cry when they are born but as long as they're pink and doing everything they're supposed to be doing, then the baby is fine.
If the baby is not breathing or doesn't have a pulse then a special pediatric care team from the Neonatal ICU will be called in to address what's going on.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Jersey Shore University Medical Center has a reputation for exceptional care and treatment in pediatrics.
They also have the region’s only Perinatal Center for critically ill infants.
"If God forbid there's a baby from a mom who had hypertension and may have been born prematurely or maybe the mom was diabetic and the sugars aren't being regulated or just a baby that may have some other metabolic or physical problem, the resource of having the NICU here is phenomenal because they can move the baby here and do pretty much anything that they can do in any major city," Dr. Morgan said. "We're very fortunate to have that here (at JSUMC). God forbid we have a difficult delivery and the baby needs resuscitation or needs to be intubated, there's always a Neonatologist in the building, pediatric residents, and P.A.'s."
Labor can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or more so it's important to know what to do.
Jersey Shore mom of five children, Sandra said during labor that getting up and walking around the room helped as did ice chips.
"The ice chips help you because it cuts down the nausea and then just moving around and walking around," Sandra said. "The big joke is that I once I'm plugged into everything I tell my husband every five seconds when the contractions are coming to unplug everything and let me walk around and then we plug back in."
During and after delivery, the room gets busy.
"The pediatricians come in, the doctors are all in there as well as the nurses," Sandra said. "This last delivery I said 'what is going on in here? there's like a big party in here' because there was about 15 team members in the room but I think it was just to make sure that the baby and I were good."
Sandra says delivering a baby into the world is a blessing and painful but she said it's surreal to hear the baby cry and have skin-to-skin contact right away.
"Delivering a baby into the world is amazing and a blessing for sure, it's a little painful too but once the pain goes away and the baby comes out...it's just an awesome feeling, it's just a surreal feeling," Sandra said. "Then it's your baby and you have to learn day by day how you're going to take care of your baby and with every day comes more knowledge. Just take deep breaths and just know that you can do it."
This mom of five children says after birth it's about learning and growing with the child and working together with others to raise good people.
"As parents and as new moms I think that we're learning every day, hopefully, we can take good from each other as new moms out there. Even though I'm a mom of five, every day I feel like I'm a new mom learning the different moods of the children," Sandra said. "If all the moms out there could help everyone become good moms and better moms that would be awesome because it's a learning experience every day. The more good in this world and the more positive moms and dads out there...all the positivity will keep rolling throughout the world. It's all about just making everyone good people and raising good people for sure."
Learn more about Sandra's journey and pregnancy advice for moms: