Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 11: Labor and birth

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 11: Labor and birth


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Giving birth is different for every woman. For most women it takes a lot of strength and concentration, and it is not unusual to feel exhausted after the baby is born. But the joy of holding the new baby makes most women forget the pain or discomfort they may have had.

Most babies are born without problems. So trust in your natural ability to give birth. But problems can arise and if they do, you will need skilled care.

In advance of the birth, speak with the person who will be delivering your baby to let her know of any special needs or concerns you may have. If you need help with daily care or communicating, you will need the same help during labor and birth.

Even after all the changes from pregnancy, you are still the person who understands your body the best. You can prevent many problems by learning about what will happen during birth, practicing ways of breathing during labor, and trying different positions to find what is comfortable for you.

Try to have someone with you

Going through labor alone is hard for any woman. Try to have someone who knows you well (partner, family member, friend) with you from the beginning of labor until the baby is born. This person can:
  • help reassure you that you are doing well.
  • help you with your breathing.
  • help you try different positions that feel the most comfortable for you.
  • help explain to the midwife or doctor any concerns or problems you may have.