Giving birth is one of the most natural experiences a woman can have. But a normal delivery is often perceived to be a risky and unbearably painful experience. That is simply because of the lack of knowledge about normal delivery.
What is meant by Normal Delivery?
The term ‘normal delivery’ is often used interchangeably with ‘vaginal delivery’. Both these terms refer to the process by which a baby is pushed out of the birth canal by the mother.
A ‘natural birth’ is a normal delivery that takes place without the use of medications or interventions of any kind.
“Every mother deserves to try for a normal delivery, unless there is a clear medical reason not to,” says Dr. Rinku Sengupta, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology, Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.
Our focus on Normal Delivery
We began our journey to reduce cesarean section rates about two decades ago and have since successfully brought down our cesarean rate from 79% in 2001 to 17% in 2019.
We are also perhaps one of the only private hospitals in Delhi to publicly disclose our cesarean rates.
Watch our story.
“Even in the midst of a pandemic, we have remained true to our cause and maintained a 20% cesarean rate while ensuring utmost safety for all expecting women and their children.”
Why Should Women Opt for a Normal Delivery?
Childbirth is a natural process, which is best allowed to progress on its own.
A vaginal delivery benefits both mother and baby in many ways. It helps the mother heal faster so that she is able to tend to her children sooner. As the baby traverses the birth canal, it picks up helpful bacteria that protect it from developing diseases later.
How can I increase my chances of normal delivery?
You can boost your chances of having a normal delivery by
- Staying active throughout pregnancy and building your stamina and physical endurance to undergo labour with ease
- Learning about the process of labour and signs of when to leave for the hospital
- Learning how to breastfeed and taking care of your newborn through an online class
“Bear in mind that none of these normal delivery tips help if you don’t have the right team to support you, “ suggests Dr. Swati Sinha, Consultant Obstetrician-Gynecologist with 20+ years of experience.
“So if you have the slightest doubt, it may not be too late to get a second opinion.”
Watch [VIDEO]: Divya Behal switched hospitals in her 9th month and didn’t regret it at all.
What are the symptoms of normal delivery?
The symptoms of normal delivery vary with the stages of childbirth which are:
This is the early labour stage, during which your cervix (opening of the uterus) thins and opens. You may notice a pinkish or blood stained discharge which is called ‘mucus plug’. This is the covering that usually holds the cervix together. You may feel mild contractions or discomfort during early labour. This can last for a few days, especially for first-time mothers.
You may find that having a warm bath or listening to your favorite music helps relieve tension and pain.
Active labour is when your cervix dilates or opens to up 10 cm. At this time, your contractions will be frequent and more painful. You should leave for the hospital at this time. Explain to your doctor any symptoms you may have. Active labour can last between four to eight hours. During this phase, your nurse and gynecologist will help you exercise by bouncing on the birthing ball or swaying from side to side to ease the pain and bring the baby down.
As you get closer to delivering your baby, the last few contractions will increase in intensity.
You will feel the urge to push and will eventually deliver your baby after a few hours. The umbilical cord may be clamped between one and three minutes after birth, as recommended by the WHO.
The placenta is taken out after the baby is delivered. You may continue to feel contractions as your uterus returns to its original size.
How is a normal delivery done?
In most hospitals and clinics expecting women give birth while laying on their backs, which is called the supine position. You may also give birth in the Lithotomy position, which comprises the supine position with your hips raised, knees bent, thighs apart and legs supported.
Many pregnant women are increasingly giving birth in an upright position at our hospital in South Delhi. Research shows that the upright position may be the best position for normal delivery. Giving birth standing up helps the baby descend because of a gravitational pull, improves oxygen supply to the baby and enables it to better position itself as it passes through. An upright position also allows the mother to have a favourable birth experience.
Things to do for Normal Delivery
With the right kind of support from your gynecologist and preparation in the antenatal period, you can expect to have a smooth normal delivery experience, provided there are no medical complications.
Read on to learn some normal delivery tips.
- Normal Delivery Tips – How do you prepare for a normal delivery?
- What Should I Eat for a Normal Delivery?
- What Antenatal Exercises Can I do to Prepare for Vaginal Birth?
- How Can I have a Painless Normal Delivery?
- What Should You Expect When You Come in During Labour?
- Normal Delivery Tips from Parents
- Meet Our Normal Delivery Experts
- What are the Charges for a Normal Delivery?
- Common Questions around Normal Delivery and Preparation Tips
Normal Delivery Tips – How to prepare for a normal delivery?
These 5 tips for pregnant women will help you prepare for a normal delivery and experience the sense of achievement that comes from birthing your own baby.
1. Choose a doctor with a high normal delivery rate
Between 2016-18, our staff unit of gynecologists achieved an 88% normal delivery rate for first-birth, low-risk mothers who had crossed 37 weeks and had a single baby in the head down position.
When it comes to deciding on a gynecologist, ask your doctor about her cesarean rate and make your preference for a normal delivery clear.
Talk to other women who have delivered with the doctor to get a sense of her cesarean rate.
“The cesarean rate for first-time mothers with a single foetus, in the normal head down position who have crossed 37 weeks should be less than 25%”, says Dr. Swati Sinha, consultant obstetrician-gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research.
Have questions regarding normal delivery? Avail a FREE first consult with our experienced consultants and clarify all your doubts! Please call us on +91 9871001458. Consultation is only available at our hospital in South Delhi.
2. Be motivated for a normal delivery
“You need to be confident about the desire for a normal birth,” says Dr. Rinku, “as that will shape your journey.”
Read up about normal birth and understand how it is safer for the mother and baby.
Babies born vaginally have lower risks of respiratory problems at birth. They also have lower risk of developing diabetes, asthma and obesity in later life.
A cesarean puts the mother at increased risk of serious complications in future pregnancies or surgery.
3. Watch your weight and exercise regularly
A crucial normal delivery tip is to not gain excessive weight during your pregnancy.
‘Eating for two’ is actually just a myth!
The extra calories you need depends on your weight before pregnancy and is typically in the range of 200-300 KCal per day.
“Don’t forget to exercise every day. If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle, start with a 10-15 minute walk and gradually increase it to 40 minutes daily. Exercise helps you build the strength that is required to go through labour” sums up Dr. Swati.
4. Pick a birth partner
Find someone who can be with you throughout your time in the labour room. For many women this partner is their husband, but it could be anyone else who you trust.
Your partner should attend an antenatal class to learn how to give you a massage, help you with labour exercises and provide emotional support.
5. Trust yourself
For generations, births took place in homes with support from family members. Most well-prepared women should expect to go through labour without any complications.
Normal birth is normal and all healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy deserve to have one.
What Should I Eat for a Normal Delivery?
Many women battle with morning sickness in the first trimester and find they can eat very little.
“It is common to eat less in the first trimester due to excessive nausea and some of you may actually lose weight “ says Dr. Swati.
“If you cannot even look at food, opt for foods without spices and suck lemons as this will help ease the nausea.
As the second trimester advances and your appetite slowly returns, women begin to wonder what foods they can eat during pregnancy.
“Eat small meals every 3-4 hours, and keep yourself well hydrated. Make it a point not to skip any meals during pregnancy.”
Need help planning your pregnancy diet? Refer to our sample pregnancy diet charts!
What Antenatal Exercises Can I Do to Prepare for Vaginal Birth?
There are many exercises for normal delivery that we recommend.
You could begin going for walks in the afternoon to avoid high levels of pollution in the morning hours. As you become comfortable with including regular physical activity in your routine, you could practice squats or bouncing on the ball exercises. These help bring the baby down and also ease the pain from contractions.
You can do these even from the comfort of your home. Remember to check with your doctor before attempting any exercises in case you have an existing medical condition.
How Can I have a Painless Normal Delivery?
Women who’ve delivered with us often tell us what a relief it was that they had their birth partners by their side during labour.
Just the presence of a loved one to motivate you and give you a back massage can greatly ease normal delivery pain.
What Should You Expect When You Come in During Labour?
It can be quite intimidating to not know what to expect when you come to the hospital during labour.
“One of the key tips for a normal delivery is to take a tour of the hospital where you will be delivering so you will know where to go when you come in during labour” suggests Dr Swati. “Knowing the procedure in advance helps lessen any anxiety and helps with smooth progress in labour.”
Watch Video: What to Expect When You Come in During Labour
Normal Delivery Tips from Parents
We asked a few parents to share their words of wisdom for expecting couples. Here is what they said:
“One tip I will give is to attend the online antenatal classes. You will find a lot of content on the internet and will not know what to follow but the information provided [in these classes] is extremely useful, even for second time parents like us. “ – Sumit and Nidhi Kapoor
“We live in Dwarka, which is 22 kms away from the hospital, but our priority was to have a normal birth, so we chose the doctor (and the hospital) rather than letting the distance determine where we should deliver.” – Dhananjay and Tariqa
“Just as you decide to have a child together, you should also decide to share the birthing experience – support your wife in labour and watch your baby’s birth, there’s nothing quite like it!” – Param and Sonakshi Dutta
Meet Our Normal Delivery Experts
All our consultants believe in practicing evidence based care and focusing on minimum interventions. Our full-time obstetrician-gynecologists are no exception.
We help you give birth the way nature intended.
Our pediatricians also practice a philosophy of ‘natural nurture’, which means they do not prescribe unnecessary medicines or investigations unless it is absolutely required.
Read what mothers have to say about us:
Aakriti Grover writes:
The doctors are amazing…really supportive and encouraging. The nurses in the labour room are trained equivalent to doctors. They conduct workshops with birth partners for labour and delivery, postnatal care and baby care. These are highly useful and motivating. They also help you prepare for the challenges that you may face. Their policy of skin to skin touch is exceptional and the lactation department is excellent. The doctors and staff patiently teach how to latch and feed the baby. Overall a reliable place to deliver. They also have water birthing process. The team is highly motivated for natural birth.
Prachi Kala says:
It was a long 22 hrs labour and I had started losing hope for normal delivery, but all the on duty nursing and doctors team made sure that I deliver my baby normally. They kept on boosting my morale and helped me in doing different exercises which was really impressive.
I will highly recommend this hospital to all those would be parents who are looking to start a new journey of life
What are the Charges for a Normal Delivery?
We believe that all women deserve to give birth in a safe, environment that has 24-hours onsite gynecologists and pediatricians, well-trained nurses, functional operation theater as well as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Charges at Sitaram Bhartia reflect the quality of the infrastructure and health professionals who are dedicated to providing personalised attention to every mother.Learn normal and cesarean delivery charges at Sitaram Bhartia.
Common Questions around Normal Delivery and Preparation Tips
Q. Can I consume milk and ghee to induce labour?
Milk does not have any particular properties to induce labour. Ghee on the other hand, when consumed often may contribute to weight gain, which eventually may hinder your delivery.
Q. Is it safe to take castor oil for normal delivery?
You should refrain from consuming castor oil as it will only cause an upset stomach and make you uneasy.
Q. What is the ideal cervix length for normal delivery?
There is no ideal cervical length for a normal delivery. You can deliver normally with a ‘short’ cervix as well.
Q. Can I have a normal delivery with a breech baby?
You need to wait atleast 39 weeks and then assess the baby’s position. You can try breech baby turning exercises or walk for an hour everyday to help your baby turn into a head-down position.
Q. The umbilical cord is wrapped around my baby. Does this mean I will have a c-section?
In most cases, a cord around the neck does not require a cesarean. You do not need to do anything except maintain a positive outlook. The loop of cord will come off on its own.
Q. In what situations can you avoid a cesarean?
The possibilities of normal delivery arise in each of these situations:
Gestational diabetes: Excess glucose levels in the baby may lead to a bigger baby but this does not necessarily mean that you should have a cesarean. With proper monitoring and management, you can keep your blood sugar levels in check, and go on to have a normal delivery.
High blood pressure during pregnancy: High blood pressure can manifest in different forms and not every situation requires a cesarean. For women with preeclampsia, a cesarean may be better for both mother and baby.
Previous cesarean: About 3 out of 4 mothers can try for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) provided they meet the criteria for it. With the right kind of preparation, many mothers can successfully have a normal birth and avoid a repeat cesarean.
If you have any more questions about a vaginal delivery, feel free to reach out to us at 011 4211 1111.
This article was originally written in May 2017 with editorial inputs from Dr. Swati Sinha and Dr. Rinku Sengupta, Consultants, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital. It has been updated in September 2020.
Dr. Swati Sinha, MBBS, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi (1996); MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi (2001); MRCOG Part 1 (October 2010)
Dr. Rinku Sengupta, MBBS, Lady Hardinge Medical College, University of Delhi (1991); MD, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi (1997)