Labor and Delivery


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Women in their third trimester are literally bursting with excitement, questions and concerns. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson is on hand to help anxious moms-to-be.

How to Initiate Labor

Dr. Lisa has tips to usher labor in and baby out! 

Labor Intensive

Dr. Lisa explains what to expect from the birthing process.

How to Get an Overdue Baby Out!
Ready to give birth? A baby is considered term, or ready to deliver, anytime after 38 weeks of gestation. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains that doctors cannot induce labor in a woman until her 39th or 40th week of pregnancy.

“Trust me, by 38 weeks, women are ready!” Dr. Lisa says. “This is something you want to and have to get out.”

Safe Methods to Help Speed Up Labor and Delivery:
• Acupuncture or acupressure
• Massage
• Sexual intercourse -- prostaglandins, a lipid compound found in semen -- can help initiate labor
• Walking
• Rocking on an exercise ball
• Nipple stimulation -- can stimulate contractions, but a word of caution: sometimes the contractions can come on too strong

“There are herbs that can illicit contractions, but you have to be very careful and you have to consult your obstetrician,” Dr. Lisa cautions. “A lot of those herbs can have adverse reactions, such as increasing bleeding or clotting, which can be dangerous during labor.”

• Eating castor oil can cause bowel distress
• Eating spicy foods or exotic fruits can cause indigestion
• Swabbing evening primrose oil on the cervix may cause negative reactions, such as increased bleeding or clotting

C-SectionA Cesarean delivery, or C-section, is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made in a woman’s abdominal wall and uterus to deliver a baby. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson outlines what women should know before undergoing a C-section.

Three out of 10 women in America have a Cesarean birth. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson notes that there are risks to both vaginal and C-section deliveries, but advocates women should have their choice of birthing options.

She adds that an elective C-section should only be performed at or after 39 weeks, and it’s important to know that insurance companies don’t pay for elective C-sections.

Designer C-SectionsCan designer C-sections put a baby at risk?

Special Delivery
Witness a first for daytime TV as mother-to-be Elysa delivers her first baby via C-section live on The Doctors!

Watch doctors prep Elysa for her C-section.

Daytime TV's first-ever live birth! 

See what happens immediately after the delivery.

Check in with the proud parents after delivery!

VBAC – Vaginal Birth after Cesarean
Is it safe to have a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC)?
Jillian is 6-months pregnant with her second child. Her first birth was a C-section because her daughter was breach, but she’d like to deliver her second baby vaginally.

Dr. Lisa says the risk Jillian faces is uterine rupture, which is a serious risk. Although the chances of that happening are one percent, most hospitals will not perform a VBAC for fear of uterine rupture. Dr. Lisa narrates an animation of a typical C-section.

Natural Birth

Some expectant mothers elect to have a natural, or drug-free, birth.

Pain management during labor:
• Doulas, or birth coaches, can help reduce pain
• Immersion in water can decrease pain
• Pre-natal classes
• Acupuncture
• Breathing techniques such as Lamaze

Bowel Movements

Is there a way to prevent having a bowel movement during labor and delivery?

Are Home Births Safe?
“As medical professionals, we’ve said that home birth is not the safest choice for pregnancy,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says, in keeping with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). “That’s because things do happen, and nature can be cruel, and babies do die and mommies do die.”

Dr. Lisa says the main reasons women die in birth are: not getting to the hospital in time in an emergency situation, post-partum hemorrhage and emergency events like the baby’s head getting stuck.

Dr. Lisa is passionate about her stance for hospital births only. “I’ve seen thousands and thousands and thousands of deliveries. I know what can happen. And you don’t want to see that happen at home, and you don’t want to be responsible for the death of your baby, or the death of your wife.”

Watch the home birth debate part I and part II

Alternative Birthing

Many expectant parents consider alternative options when it comes to delivery, including water-births at home and hypnotism births. Dr. Lisa stresses that OB/GYNs want the birthing process to be as beautiful as possible, and she suggests her patients make their hospital rooms comfortable. Creating a spa-like atmosphere in the hospital delivery room can be effectively soothing, and other methods such as HypnoBabies, where the mother says scripts to focus her mind away from pain, can be employed.

Dr. Lisa warns that emergencies can arise quickly during labor and delivery — for both the baby and mother — sometimes requiring immediate surgery; that’s why being in a hospital setting is optimal.

Orgasmic Birth
Would you swap pain during childbirth for an orgasm? More and more women are claiming they have orgasmic births, especially during home births.

“I know it’s possible for women to have orgasms when they breastfeed, because nipple stimulation is nipple stimulation,” Dr. Lisa says. “But during delivery, I’ve actually never had a patient have that. I could see it happening, because a lot of times we’ll do nipple stimulation to bring on contractions. I suppose early in labor it could happen. Really, everywhere I’ve delivered, from Africa to India to here, most women are in pain if they don’t have anesthesia.”

Laura has been collecting information about orgasmic births for 15 years and says she has had orgasms right before giving birth from having sexual intercourse prior to her water breaking. “I just thought it was a fascinating phenomenon,” she says.

“The message that I try to bring is much larger than that,” she adds. “It’s about overcoming fear, shame and guilt. Emotions affect blood flow, and you want blood to flow to that area.”

“It’s just another tool to relax,” Dr. Jim says. “Having a good birth experience is all about relaxing in all the areas, and if that helps you do it, then why not?”

An epidural is a type of regional anesthesia that works by injecting anesthetic into the epidural space of the spinal cord, resulting in the cessation of sensation in the abdominal, genital and pelvic areas. It is frequently used in childbirth and gynecological surgery. Anesthesiologist Dr. Edna Ma demonstrates how an epidural is performed.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but if you want to have a lighter epidural, if you want to feel a little bit more of the contractions, just tell your doctor or anesthesiologist,” Dr. Ma says. “They can adjust it based on your preferences.”

Are Epidurals Safe?
An epidural, an anesthetic that blocks pain in a particular area, is among the most popular pain relief methods during childbirth, but are there risks to alleviating the pain?

Explaining Epidurals

Dr. Lisa explains how an epidural works and if they are safe.

“Women do not get a gold star for being in pain,” Dr. Lisa says. “If that’s something you want to do, that’s fine. That’s absolutely not going to change anything, but you absolutely do not have to be in pain to have a baby. Women have actually died of too much pain, and women in other countries, who cannot get epidurals, would kill for an epidural.

“There are risks for any procedure, but they’re very minimal if it’s done in a safe environment,” Dr. Lisa continues. “They can actually be very helpful for certain conditions in pregnancy, like a twin pregnancy and obviously for a cesarean-section.”

Because the epidural does make a puncture wound, risks include possible infection, bleeding and severe headaches. “But they are very rare,” Dr. Lisa says. “It’s definitely an option women should think about.”

More on pregnancy safety.

Postpartum Body
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson details everything a woman can expect from her body after labor and delivery.