Delivering a baby is an exciting time but also can be tough and involves a lot of hard work. It is not easy pushing a baby out of you...but when all is said and done it is definitely worth all the pain and the screaming...
There are three stages of delivery during the whole process of childbirth. This article will go through each of the stages of delivery and provide you with detailed information about what to expect once you go into labour. Lets begin your journey into childbirth..
The first sign of labour is the beginning of regular contractions. When the contractions become stronger, you will feel these as labour pains. The cervix (the neck of the womb) begins to dilate and the plug of mucus which had closed its mouth comes off letting some bloodstained discharge leak out. During each contraction, the muscles of the womb push the baby's head against the cervix. The contractions help the cervix to stretch and eventually you become fully dilated. Over time the contractions become more vigorous and more frequent. The duration from the onset of labour pains and the full dilation of the cervix (indicated by the bloodstained leakage) varies from 12 to 24 hrs (if this is your first pregnancy) or 4 to 12 hrs (if you already been through pregnancy before).
Many women often confuse labour pains with cramps. Labour pains come at regular intervals and start every 20 minutes. Later the intervals may reduce to three to five minutes. The pain usually starts in the back and then travels around to the front of your tummy.
Normally the first stage lasts for a long time and during this time you can be on the way to the hospital. However depending on the hospital you may be told to relax at home until your cervix is full dilated and your water breaks. When labour pains do occur it is best to go to the hospital and be checked by your doctor.
Once your cervix is fully dilated, the bag of water that surrounds your baby breaks creating a leakage of fluid (this is commonly known as your “water breaking”). At this point if you are not already, go directly to the hospital. The labour pain becomes very strong and you may have a feeling to push the baby out. During this stage it is important to co-operate with the doctors and the midwife and it's vital that you try and relax during your contractions.
The baby's head will eventually reach the vulva – the edge of your body. With one last push your baby's limbs and body comes out, along with a lot of blood stained fluid.
You did it you gave birth to your baby...
The second stage of labour begins with your cervix becoming fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. If this is your first pregnancy then this stage usually lasts an hour or two. However if this is not your first pregnancy, then it is usually done in a matter of minutes, normally about 15 minutes.
After giving birth to your baby, you usually begin to relax as the doctor clamps and cuts the umbilical cord (in some hospitals the father is usually able to cut the umbilical cord if he is present during the delivery, check with your hospital).
Next is the separation of the placenta from your womb. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Signs indicating separation of the placenta from your womb include further leakage of blood and your womb becoming smaller. The placenta normally separates after a few voluntary pushes from you. If you are too exhausted from your labour and fail to push out the placenta, the doctor will press your abdomen which will help push it out.
The third stage lasts between the birth of your baby and the removal of your placenta. It is painless and usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. It's all over...you can relax and enjoy the baby you just gave birth to...
It is important for you to know and understand the stages of labor and you should have an idea how it is going to be conducted. This will provide you with a more comfortable feeling of what you are going through once the labor begins. I hope by reading this article you gain a better understanding of what is happening to your body and your baby during the three stages of labour. Remember to relax and by the time you know it, you'll be holding your beautiful baby in your arms. You have waited nine months for this...it's almost time.