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Labor and delivery

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The experience of labour and delivery varies from one woman to another. For a smooth normal delivery your doctor might advice you certain pre-preparations that would make the process smoother. As a mother, you should educate yourself everything about labor and delivery. And we help you here...

Preparing for delivery

It’s normal for mothers to get delivery jitters. Undoubtedly the biggest fear is – labor pain. Then comes worries about the baby and its health.

During this time, doctors advice women to indulge in several joyful activities to divert attention from the growing anxiety in their mind.

Before delivering the baby, your nurse might give you perineal massage (perineum- the tissue between vagina and anus) to ease the delivery process. You can also do this at home a day before the delivery with K-Y jelly cream.

Make sure you learn relaxation techniques to beforehand to manage delivery pain in a better way.

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Signs of labor

The trick is to understand the true signs of labor and distinguish them from false labor which is known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Real labor signs are:

  • Stronger uterine contraction that last for 10 minutes or so and occur at regular intervals or periodically
  • You feel lightened at your baby’s head gets positioned downward. You can feel your belly bulge slightly downwards. The urgency to urinate also increases
  • “Bloody show”- brownish or reddish colour discharge from your vagina before few days of delivery
  • Your water breaks- As the water bag or the amniotic fluid breaks, there could be water gush from your vagina

Stages of labor

There are typically 3 stages of labor:

1.    First stage- Latent phase

Uterine contractions happen which are strong yet can be tolerated. These help the cervix to dilate to help baby move out of birth canal. You should be admitted to the hospital in stage 1 labor.

2.    Second stage- Active phase

You are ready to push your baby once your doctor  gives you a go ahead after checking your cervix, which has to dilate completely. The labor pain in intensely strong and your doctor insists you to push the baby until the head crowns and reaches the vagina. Finally, you push more to let out his/her whole body.

3.    Third stage- Transition phase

The contractions still persist and you deliver the placenta now. Relax more during this stage. You are also allowed to breastfeed your baby.

What happens during delivery?

Depending upon the intensity and position of your baby your doctor might want to give you medicines to reduce the pain of delivering. The drugs include opioids, epidural or spinal blocks and pudendal blocks. Make sure you are informed about these medical methods during delivery.

If active labor doesn’t start naturally or the due date has crossed then your doctor would induce labor artificially with medical intervention and other methods. Another optional measure during delivery is- episiotomy- an incision made in the perineum to ease childbirth. This is done only if required.

Choosing the delivery position is again a personal preference. Let your doctor know what helps you the most – lying, squatting, kneeling or sitting. Once the baby’s head is out, your doctor will use a suction device to remove the amniotic fluid.

What to expect after delivery?

The entire process- begin of labor pain and delivery might last between 12-14 hours, which again varies from one woman to another. You can walk back home with your baby and family after few hours of delivery.

Some common discomfort include sporadic uterine contractions, pain at the incision cite (if performed), looseness in vagina, urinary incontinence and constipation.

Another thing that you have to be prepared for is heavy menstrual period.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 22, 2014