Preparing for birth

pregnencyGoing to antenatal classes is probably the best way to prepare for birth. Many women also find it useful to talk to their midwives and friends and family members who have already been through the birthing process and to read magazines and books about child birth. Antenatal classes provide useful information about pain relief during child birth, what to expect during the different stages of labour, breathing exercises and pelvic floor exercises, which can be done before child birth to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Antenatal classes also provide a useful opportunity for expectant parents to ask any questions and talk to other parents.

As your due date approaches, it is a good idea to start readying yourself for child birth. Think about what is going to happen, mentally prepare yourself and get a bag ready for when the time comes to go into hospital.

The three stages of labour:

First stage

During the first stage of labour the cervix starts to dilate. Contractions cause the muscles around the cervix to soften and the cervix will eventually dilate to around 4inches (10 centimetres). This process can take many hours; for first time mothers, the dilation process usually takes between 6 and 12 hours and it is usually shorter for subsequent babies. As the cervix becomes increasingly dilated, the contractions may be stronger and more painful and you may be encouraged to use the breathing exercises you have learnt in antenatal classes to ease pain and help you to relax. The baby’s heart rate will be monitored throughout labour. If the labour is taking too long, the doctor may advise measures to speed up the process; your waters will be broken and this does have the desired effect, a drip containing a hormone will be given to bring on contractions.

pregnancy4Second stage

The second stage of labour involves the actual birth of the baby. Once the cervix is fully dilated, it will be possible for the baby to come out and the midwife will encourage you to breath and push at certain times. You will be encouraged to find a comfortable position and push when the contractions come. Once the head starts to become visible, you will be advised to push gently and then stop pushing so that the baby’s head can be born slowly to prevent damage to the perineum. Once the baby’s head is out, the rest of its body will come out fairly quickly and easily.

Third stage

The third stage occurs once the baby has been born. During the final stage of labour, the placenta is delivered. This process usually takes between 20 and 60 minutes, and during this process you will experience contractions. Most women are given an injection in their thigh to speed up the final stage of labour.

After the birth

After the baby is born, it may be very messy so the midwife will clean it, weight it, wrap it in a blanket and then hand it over to the parents for the first cuddle. If the baby is having breathing troubles, mucus may be removed from the nose and mouth before the baby is handed over. You will then be offered the chance to have a wash.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *