Giving Birth

Recognize labour pain

baby3Giving birth – Towards the end of the pregnancy, the uterus starts preparing for labour by contracting off and on. True labour pains are first perceived as a pain in the lower back that radiates to the legs. At first, these contractions are mild and infrequent. These contractions indicate you that labour is starting Sometimes labour pains are accompanied by small amount of bleeding. The contractions gradually increase in frequency, duration and intensity.

Three stages of labour

Labour has three different stages. During the first stage of labour, your cervix slowly dilates, to about 4 inches wide. At the same time, it becomes thinner. This is called effacement. When it is fully dilated, it opens approximately up to 10 cm. As labour progresses, the baby descends further down along the birth canal.

From full dilation to delivery of the baby is the second stage the cervix opens up enough to permit the baby’s head and body to come out of the uterus. When your baby’s scalp comes into view, it is called as crowning. Shortly afterwards, your baby is born. If it is your first delivery, this stage may last for 1-2 hours. From second time onwards, it becomes shorter. The third stage is when the placenta that nourished the baby is delivered.

Other methods of delivery

Cesarean
It is done for many reasons. It may be maternal, fetal or combined. If the mothers pelvis is too small to accommodate the baby, If the baby may have passed meconium inside the uterus and may be in danger because of swallowing it or passing it into the lungs. Malposition of the baby is another reason. If the placenta is located at the lower part of the uterus, if any other hindrance to deliver the baby in time… in all these situations a cesarean is needed. After giving anesthesia the baby is delivered by cutting into different layers of the abdominal wall and then through different layers of the uterus.

Epidural or painless delivery
If you opt for an epidural, the anaesthetist will confirm that it can be safely done. Your doctor injects the aneastheic agent into the membranes around the spinal cord. This causes loss of pain sensation in the lower part of your body. At full dilation, once the baby descends further down the birth canal, the mother feels the urge to pass stool and can be made to push the baby out.

Forceps and vacuum
Sometimes the baby descends right down to the pelvic floor and then just refuses to progress any further. When the baby reaches almost up to the exit point, the mother has a strong desire to push down the baby. But sometimes mother becomes completely exhausted. In some cases, the baby’s head gets compressed due to the contractions of the uterus to such an extent that its heart beat dips further. In some instances, the baby’s head does not rotate properly inside the pelvis so that the labour gets arrested. On all such occasions, external help is needed. Then forceps or vacuum is used to complete the delivery.