Page 47 - Great Expectations

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Great Expectations – 47
Vaginal Birth
The first stage of labor starts with the onset of labor and is completed
when the cervix is completely dilated to 10 centimeters.
The
first stage
of labor can take quite a long time, especially with a
first baby. It is not at all uncommon for the first stage of labor to last
12 to 14 hours. That does not mean that you will be having continuous
contractions for 14 hours. Do not try to fight these contractions by
tensing all your muscles. Your uterus is doing the work for which it was
designed. Tensing muscles will only make the contractions feel worse.
Try to RELAX even while you are having a contraction. Concentrate on
relaxing your muscles.
The second stage of labor starts with the cervix becoming fully dilated
and is completed with the birth of the baby.
The
second stage
of labor is much shorter than the first stage. By now
your cervix has dilated enough for the passage of the baby’s head and
when the head has descended enough, you will be prepared for the
birth of your baby. If your hospital has LDRP’s
(labor, delivery, recovery,
postpartum)
or LDR’s
(labor, delivery, recovery)
you will remain in your
labor room for the birth. The contractions now are very close together
and the baby is being pushed out. You may be “pushing” involuntarily
as your uterus contracts.
It may feel like your bowels are moving, but do not worry about this. It
is just the pressure of the baby’s head on the rectum. Each time you have
a contraction, the baby moves farther and farther down the birth canal.
You may have heard a lot about episiotomies. An
episiotomy
is a surgical
incision made in the perineum which is the space between the vagina
and the anus. Although this is not a routine procedure, your healthcare
provider will not know if you will need an episiotomy until the head is
crowning. It is at this point when they will determine if one is necessary
or not. Talk to your healthcare provider about the procedure and any
concerns that you may have about it.
As you bear down or push, the baby begins to appear. Finally, the baby is born. Mucus or amniotic fluid may be
removed from your baby’s mouth and nose with a suction bulb. As your baby takes a breath of air, he may begin to
cry. You may feel so many emotions at that moment or you could be totally exhausted from all the work of labor. There
is no right or wrong way as to how you should feel.
The third stage of labor begins after the birth of the baby and is completed with the delivery of the placenta.
Your work is not totally over. The
third stage
of labor is the passing of the afterbirth, or placenta. This usually takes
just a few contractions and takes only a few minutes more. Then it is time for some well-earned rest and bonding with
your newborn baby.
Labor
and
Birth
Second Stage – Cervix is fully dilated
and pushing begins
Head is crowning at delivery