Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - December 2013

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DOCTOR'S ADVICE FOR A LESS PAINFUL BIRTHING EXPERIENCE A re you nervous about giving birth? Worried about the pain and stress of the delivery? For the majority of women, childbirth is a happy and incident-free event. Dr. Meredith McDowell, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Health Quest Medical Practice offers her advice on the birth experience. Over the past seven years, Dr. McDowell has delivered many babies. She pinpoints 5 key elements to a less painful birthing experience. "Although there is no such thing as a painless labor, there are techniques we can teach you to make the experience be less painful," says Dr. McDowell. 1. Use a doula Dr. McDowell says the most important thing is to be as comfortable as possible and to have continuous moral support during labor. Consider using a Doula. They provide information, physical assistance and emotional support for women during and after childbirth. "At Health Quest Medical Practice, we can help our patients find doulas if they choose to go that route," says Dr. McDowell. " Doulas are great because they know what to expect during childbirth and provide continuous support to the birthing mom." A Doula helps prepare you for your baby's birth by discussing what to expect during the entire process including the prenatal visits. Dr. McDowell believes when women know what to expect, they're more at ease. 2. Be prepared When it comes to giving birth, everyone is different. "Preparation and childbirth classes really help," says Dr. McDowell. "Knowing your options is the most important thing in child birth because it lays the ground work before you go in." "Support and relaxation are very important pieces of a less painful labor puzzle," says Dr. McDowell. "Knowing your options is the most important thing in child birthing because it lays the ground work before you go in [the delivery room]." Meredith McDowell, MD Health Quest Medical Practice 3. Keep moving The ability for a mom to be able to change her own position during labor can help manage pain. "Usually moving around is very helpful during labor," says Dr. McDowell. 4. Discuss pain management "During pre-natal visits, I make sure to discuss pain management and the use of pain medications during labor," says McDowell. "If a patient wants to have a natural birth, we are supportive of that desire," says Dr. McDowell. "We offer those patients low intervention options like deep breathing exercises and water relaxation." She says patients are often amazed by the calming effects a warm shower can have during birth. Some patients may change their mind about pain medication during delivery, so Dr. McDowell works closely with those patients to make sure they get everything they need in order to have a memorable experience. "What I think is most important is to know what you desire, but to be open to the possibilities of needing a little help during a natural birth," says Dr. McDowell. 5. Join a childbirth education class Dr. McDowell urges expectant mothers to take advantage of the many childbirth education classes available through Health Quest Medical Practice. These classes give moms-to-be an idea of what's available to them during labor and the class instructors often teach relaxation and breathing techniques. Dr. McDowell is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist and sees patients in HQMP's office in Rhinebeck and Kingston.

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