Things to Know About Normal Birth

Normal Birth Selection

Every birth is as unique and individual as every mother and baby. In addition, women can have completely different experiences with each new birth. Giving birth is a life-changing event that will leave a mark on you for the rest of your life.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure it’s a positive experience and know what to expect. Here is some information about what can happen when you deliver your baby.

Should You Have a Birth Plan?

As you approach the second part of your pregnancy, you may want to create a birth plan. Think carefully about what is important to you. The overall goal is a healthy mother and baby.

The birth plan outlines your ideal birth and may need to be adjusted as the real situation unfolds.

Talk to your partner and decide who you want to attend the birth with. Some couples think this is a special time and prefer others not to exist.

A birth plan may include reducing pain during labor, birthing positions, and other issues.

Birth Stages

amniotic sac

The amniotic sac is the fluid-filled membrane that surrounds your baby. This sac is almost always ruptured before the baby is born, but in some cases it remains intact until birth. When it explodes, it is often described as “watering”.

In most cases, your water will burst before it starts to come in or at the beginning of labor. Most women experience their watering down as a runoff/toilet incontinence.

The water should be clear in color and odorless – if it is yellow, green or brown, contact your doctor immediately.

contractions

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Contractions are the tightening and release of your uterus. These movements will eventually help your baby move through the cervix. The contractions can feel like heavy cramping or pressure that starts in your back and moves forward.

Contractions are not a reliable indicator of delivery. You may have already felt Braxton-Hicks contractions, which may have started as early as your second trimester.

A general rule of thumb is that when you have contractions lasting one minute, five minutes apart, and lasting about an hour, you’re in real labor.

cervix dilatation

The cervix is ​​the lowest part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The cervix is ​​a tubular structure about 3 to 4 centimeters long with a passage connecting the uterine cavity to the vagina.

The role of the cervix during labor should change from protecting the pregnancy (keeping the uterus closed) to facilitating the delivery of the baby (by expanding or opening enough to allow the baby to pass).

Fundamental changes that occur near the end of pregnancy cause softening of the cervical tissue and thinning of the cervix, both of which help prepare the cervix. Active labor is considered to have continued when the cervix is ​​dilated 3 centimeters or more.

Baby’s Passage

Eventually, the cervical canal should open until the cervical opening itself reaches 10 centimeters and the baby has passed into the birth canal.

Your skin and muscles are stretched as the baby enters the vagina. The labia and perineum (the area between the vagina and rectum) eventually reach their maximum stretch. At this point, the skin may feel as if it is on fire.

Some birth educators refer to this as a ring of fire because of the burning sensation felt as the mother’s tissues stretch around the baby’s head. At that time, your healthcare provider may decide to perform an episiotomy.

You may or may not feel the episiotomy, because the skin and muscles can lose sensation because they are stretched too tightly.

Birth

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As the baby’s head emerges, you’ll probably still feel some discomfort, but there will be great relief from the pressure.

Your nurse or doctor will ask you to stop pushing momentarily as your baby’s mouth and nose are sucked to clear the amniotic fluid and mucus. It is important to do this before the baby begins to breathe and cry.

Usually, the doctor rotates the baby’s head a quarter turn to align with the baby’s body that is still inside you. You will then be asked to start pushing again so that the shoulders come out.

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The upper shoulder comes first, then the lower shoulder.

Then, with one last push, you deliver your baby!

Delivery of the placenta

The placenta and amniotic sac, which supports and protects the baby for nine months, are still in the womb after birth. These need to be removed and this can happen spontaneously or take up to half an hour. Your midwife or doctor may rub your tummy under your belly button to tighten the uterus and loosen the placenta.

The uterus is currently the size of a large grapefruit. You may need to push to help the placenta come out. You may feel some pressure as the placenta is expelled, but not as much as the baby is born.

Your healthcare provider will examine the expelled placenta to make sure it is completely removed. In rare cases, part of the placenta may not be expelled and may remain attached to the wall of the uterus.

In this case, your doctor will reach into your uterus to remove any leftover pieces to prevent heavy bleeding that could result from a ruptured placenta. If you want to see the placenta, you can ask. They are usually happy to show you.

Pain and Other Emotions During Childbirth

If you choose a natural birth

If you decide to have a natural birth (birth without pain medication), you will feel all kinds of sensations. The two feelings you will experience the most are pain and pressure. Once you start pushing, some of the pressure will ease.

As the baby descends into the birth canal, you go from experiencing constant and increasing pressure, not just experiencing pressure during contractions. Having a bowel movement will feel like a strong urge as the baby presses on the same nerves.

If you choose to have an epidural

If you choose to have an epidural delivery, what you feel during labor will depend on the effectiveness of the epidural block. If the drug numbs the nerves properly, you may not feel anything. If it’s moderately effective, you may feel some pressure.

If it is mild, you will feel pressure, which can be uncomfortable for you. It depends on how well you tolerate the pressure sensations. You may not feel the tightness of the vagina and you probably won’t feel the episiotomy.

Possible rupture

While significant injuries are not common, the cervix may rupture during the dilation procedure and ultimately require repair.

Vaginal tissues are soft and flexible, but these tissues can rupture if delivery occurs quickly or with excessive force. In most cases, lacerations are minor and easily repaired. Sometimes they can be more serious and cause more long-term problems.

Normal delivery often damages the vagina and/or cervix. Up to 70 percent of women who give birth for the first time have an episiotomy or some type of surgery that requires repair.

Fortunately, the vagina and cervix have a rich blood supply. Therefore, injuries in these areas heal quickly and leave little or no scarring that can cause long-term problems.

Summary

Preparing yourself for childbirth is not impossible, but it is an unpredictable process. Understanding the timeline and hearing about other mothers’ experiences can work to make births less mysterious.

Many expectant mothers find it helpful to create a birth plan with their partner and share it with their healthcare team. Even if you create a plan, you may need to change your mind if the need arises. You should remember that your goal is to have a healthy baby and a healthy, positive experience.

Healthline, What to Expect During a Vaginal Delivery, 2018

References

  • Kettle C, et al. (2010). Absorbable stitches for repair of episiotomy and tears at childbirth.
  • Labor and delivery, postpartum care. (2016).
  • Stages of labor. (n.d.).
  • When to go to the hospital. (n.d.).

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