As your expected due date approaches, it’s understandable to get anxious if you don’t know what to expect during normal labor and delivery. All that you need to know about normal labor is summed up below.
What is normal labor and delivery?
Normal labor and delivery is the term used when the baby is born in head down position at full term (9 months) through the vagina (birth canal) after spontaneous labor pains. Typically, for first-time mothers normal labor may last anywhere from 6 to 18 hours.
In low-risk births, a normal labor and delivery is safer for the mother and baby over a c-section. It allows you to breastfeed your baby sooner and helps you recover faster.
What is the normal delivery process?
Normal delivery process has the following three stages
- Stage I is when the contractions in uterus cause opening and shortening of the cervix i.e. the mouth of the uterus.
- Stage II is when the cervix is fully open and the baby descends down the birth canal. The mother pushes and gives birth to the baby.
- Stage III is when delivery of placenta (i.e. the organ that supplies nutrients to the baby) occurs.
What are the symptoms of normal delivery?
Usually the following symptoms of labor and normal delivery are experienced:
- Labour pain, felt as cramps in lower abdomen and tightening of the belly which increases over a period of time and become more intense.
- Rupture of your water bag resulting in a trickle of water.
- Sticky discharge mixed with blood called ‘show’.
Is there any exercise for normal delivery?
Exercise for normal delivery eases labor pain, shortens duration of labor and helps you recover faster after childbirth.
- If you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle, start walking for 15 minutes and then gradually build up to 45 minutes a day.
- Practice squats, butterfly, cat and camel and bridging exercises.
- Learn breathing exercises to take your mind off labor pains.
When should I leave for the hospital?
You should leave for the hospital for your delivery:
- When you experience 2-3 contractions over 10 minutes
- If your water bag has ruptured
- If you have vaginal bleeding that is more than spotting
Budget extra time if you live far away.
Is normal delivery more painful?
While labor is painful, most women are able to cope well with the right support.
Massage, hot water showers and change in position helps relieve labour pain.
Normal delivery pain ends with the birth of your baby while cesarean pain can last for days.
How to get normal delivery without pain?
Epidurals can provide nearly painless deliveries. This might lengthen labour but does not increase your chances of a cesarean.
In this procedure, an anesthetist inserts a catheter into your spinal cord.
How to deal with normal delivery pain?
Normal delivery pain can be managed with
- hot water shower
- breathing exercises to de-stress and
- position changes
Your birth partner also provides emotional support and motivation during labor which helps deal with the pain.
How do you push during labor?
When the baby is ready and descends down the birth canal, mothers get a ‘natural urge’ to push.
During labor, you should lie on your back, tilt your head down and position your legs close to your abdomen. Use your hands to stretch your upper thighs.
Now, follow your natural instinct to push. Take a deep breath and hold it while pushing during labor. Don’t hold your breath for too long and take frequent breaks.
How long does it take to deliver a baby?
It may take 6 to 18 hours for a first time mother to deliver a baby. Pre-labor pains may last 36 hours but your doctor can give you medications that’ll help you relax.
Is it safe to deliver a baby at 37 weeks?
Unless there are strong medical reasons, you should not deliver a baby at 37 weeks. Doctors try to postpone an elective c-section to at least 39 weeks to give extra time for the baby’s lungs and brain to mature before birth.
Delivering early can increase the risk for nursery/NICU admission.