There are several signs that tell you when your baby will be born. The first signs of childbirth are contractions of the uterine which, at first, appear to be similar to pain in poor digestion or backpain and occur at irregular intervals. As the childbirth approaches, contractions occur at regular and shorter intervals. But even then they may vary in strength.
But, contractions are not always a reliable sign that a childbirth had begun. During pregnancy, the uterus is continually contracting and preparing for childbirth (although pregnant women rarely feels contractions until the last few weeks of pregnancy). If contraction is not accompanied by other signs and if their incidence does not increase, childbirth has not yet started.
When it starts, the mucus plug, which in the pregnancy creates a block between the uterus and the vagina, will be thrown out in the form of a bleeding discharge.
The second sign of childbirth can be rupturing of the fluid-filled membranes that surround the baby. The term is known as ”water breaking”, after which a woman will feel a sensation of wetness in her vagina, followed by leaking of a small or big leaking of a watery fluid. In both cases, water breaking is usually a sign that the childbirth approaches.
A mother is being prepared at maternity clinic. The vagina is examined to see how much the uterus has spread and the position of the child is determined. In some hospitals pubic hair is usually shaved (partially or all) to prevent infection.
The course of childbirth can be divided into three stages. The first stage begins with the first contractions. After each contraction, the cervix, through which the child comes out, gradually opens until it spreads completely. The cervix is fully open when its diameter is 10 cm. At that point, the uterus, the cervix, and the vagina have ”created” a birth canal.
The average duration of the first stage is 12 hours in women who are delivering for the first time, and 6 to 8 hours in women who had a baby before. However, in some cases (if first pregnancies) the first stage may take longer than 24 hours, while in women who had multiple pregnancies it may take only a few minutes.
When the cervix is fully opened, a transition period between the first and the second stage occurs. In that period, it seems that contractions temporarily stop in some women, while others are feeling hot, cold, or have the urge to vomit. When the second stage begins, contractions are much stronger and usually accompanied by reflexive pushing to allow the child to enter the birth canal. Passing of the baby through the birth canal creates pressure on the colon, and the mother will feel the urge to defecate.
She will be advised to push only when she feels contractions, so that the two forces ”join”, and the mother will keep the strength between the contractions. Near the end, the mother will be adivsed to stop pushing because the baby’s head could break the tissue of the vagina. Ideally, the head of the baby is slowly pulled out of the vagina.
The second stage ends when the child completely comes out from the birth canal. This lasts an average of up to one hour in firste pregnancy, and up to 30 minutes in multiple pregnancies.
After childbirth, the umbilical cord, which connects the child with the placenta in the uterus, is tied by a sterile band in two places – about 10 cm and 15 cm from the child’s abdomen. After that, the umbilicus between these two places is cut.
The third stage is placenta devliery. The contractions are continued because the placenta is detached from the uterine wall and needs to be push out. This stage is characterized by additional bleeding and squeezing of the umbilical cord from the vagina. In order to accelerate the placenta delivery and prevent the possibility of severe bleeding after delivery, the midwife will carefully pull the umbilicus with one hand, while the other will suppress the stomach. The third stage usually lasts fifteen minutes. After the placenta is extruded, the mother is given an injection to tighten the uterus and thus prevent severe bleeding. Possible cuts in the uterus are cleansed and severed, and while this is done, a mother can hold a baby in her arms.