You are excited and preoccupied: you`ll soon bring a little human being in this world! You can`t wait to meet him, after so many months! You almost see him: a small baby with big eyes, very loud all the time, warm, at your chest!
Millions of children are born all over the world and still, for a lot of women, the joy of discovering they are pregnant for the first time, it`s quickly overwhelmed by the fear of birth, fear of the unknown.
Everyone knows that birth is painful, but how much it lasts? Will pain be a constant pain? What happens when my water breaks? Can pain be relieved? These are only a few of the questions that women at their first birth have.
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How Is your Vagina Build for Birth?
Although it seems almost impossible, a baby can even fit through the cervix because a woman`s body is build in such a manner to be able to give birth, reaching a dilation of up to 10 cm to meet the requirements of the baby`s first journey from the uterus in the real world. In fact, even during pregnancy, the woman`s body is prepared for this unique moment through the following hormones:
- Estrogen: it increases the blood flow towards the vaginal folds, so that this elastic conjunctive tissue can better stretch in the birth`s expulsion phase.
- Relaxin: It helps the body to relax and weakness the pelvic ligaments and joints so they can expand and make space for the baby to be born.
How Does Giving Birth Feel Like?
So, you can be sure that when it comes to vaginal (natural) birth, we talk about some level of pain and labor will hurt up to some point. However, it isn`t as bad as television or friends claim to be! Some women even claimed that menstrual pain was sometimes more painful than actual birth. And the thought that you`ll soon be able to keep your baby in your arms should give you some sort of relief.
How Do I Know if I`m in Labor?
Considering that there are many false alarms, it`s difficult for women found in their first pregnancy to know if they are in labor or not. So, the question “How do I know if I`m in labor?” seems a logical one.
The most common false alarms are Braxton-Hicks contractions, but they are moderate as intensity and irregular, so we cannot talk about a real labor.
When the contractions become more frequent, they are counted and if they appear in intervals of 10 minutes or less, then we can most likely talk about a real labor.
Labor may stat long before the pregnant woman may need to go to the maternity and is known as early labor, a period during which the contractions increase in intensity and frequency, but they are many pass several hours or even days until the cervix dilates.
During labor, the pregnant woman needs to go to the hospital if she experiences any bleeding, if the membranes break, if the baby`s movements are much slower, or if she experiences any headache or fever.
What Happens When My Water Breaks?
Sometimes it`s extremely obvious that your water broke, because you`ll feel a big wave of liquid which will pass through your clothes, and it simply cannot be confused with anything else. However, other times it all happens in a more subtle way, so the moment when water breaks is understandable why is confused with a vaginal discharge or with a loss of urine, both phenomena being commonly encountered during pregnancy.
If your water breaks before 36 weeks of pregnancy, medical care and antibiotic medications can help extend the period of pregnancy with days or even entire weeks.
It`s crucial the moment when the water breaks to be remembered (written down), because this will help the doctor to evaluate the risk of infection, depending on the later duration of labor.
After the rupture of the membranes, the gelatinous plug is eliminated, which is located at the base of the cervix and has the role of sealing the uterus to prevent infections.
Is Birth that Much Painful as Everyone Talks about?
When talking about pain, there`s no way around it. Birth is painful, but how painful depends on a series of factors, including the baby`s position.
If the baby is placed with his head down and turned with his face towards the spine, this will mean that labor will be pretty short and the pain bearable.
In general, the duration of labor is what makes the woman decide if she needs an epidural anesthesia or not, because when talking about a prolonged labor, the pregnant woman needs a lot of energy.
Another factor that influences the level of pain is fear (anxiety) and it`s very difficult to relax during labor, considering that the natural answer of everyone is to get further away from pain.
Pain is intense because a lot of the muscles involved in the contractions have never been used. Our advise for the pregnant woman is to try to relax and think about the fact that this means she`s one step closer to holding her child in her arms.
For lots of women, the onset of labor is similar to menstrual pains. However, the intensity is difficult to establish, because everyone has different limits of sensitivity to pain.
Things May Sometimes Go Wrong
A lot of pregnant women imagine how birth will develop and will want a natural birth, but it`s recommended for them to have a back-up plan, and for them not to regret if plan “A” didn`t go as planned. – More details!
For lots of women, it happens to experience a stool during delivery, but they need to know that this is perfectly normal, especially because they way they push to help the baby come into this world is similar to the way they push when they go to the toilet.
There`s also a high risk for pregnant women experience cracks after birth, so doctors need to perform episiotomy to avoid complications.
How Do You Push a Baby Out?
- You need to push as if you would push if having a bowel movement.
- Turn the chin to the chest.
- Put all your strength and push.
- Try to stay focused at all times.
- Change your position to feel more comfortable, but take into consideration the doctor`s instructions. – More info!
- Trust your body.
- Take advantage of the pauses between contractions and rest.
- When instructed, stop pushing!
- Always keep an eye on the monitor.
How Can You Avoid Tearing when Giving Birth?
- You should always try and stay healthy! Always take your prenatal vitamins and have a well balanced diet.
- Be prepared to push when necessary! You want on the pushing stage (the second stage) to go slower than you may have expected. If the baby is pushed slowly, you`ll allow time to your tissue to stretch and let the baby slide gently.
- Always use a lubricant! Apply warmed mineral oil to decrease friction, so the baby can slide out more easily.
- Your perineum needs to stay warm. Place a warm clothing item on the perineum to soften the muscles and increase your blood flow.
- Push & delivery your side. This is something that can help decrease any excessive stretching of the perineum.
During Delivery & After Birth
After the baby`s birth, the umbilical cord and placenta contain around 1/3 of the baby`s blood. The umbilical cord is thick, tight and pulses to push the blood towards the baby. After a few minutes, the umbilical cord won`t pulse anymore and the mother will feel the need to push again.
In most cases, the placenta will simply slip and although the contractions may be painful, they last very little.
In some cases, emergency Caesarean will be required, especially when the baby is found in a transversal position, if labor evolves too slowly which puts the baby in danger.
Generally speaking, for Caesarean births is used rahianesthesia, and the baby is born in the first 5 minutes, then the placenta will follow and the entire process of closing the operation that will last around 30 minutes.
Tips for your Vagina after Birth
The best way for your vagina to recover his original shapes after birth is to start practicing Kegel exercises during pregnancy to maintain the muscles for the respective area tensed and toned. These can help in preventing the breaking associated with birth, during the postpartum period of recovery, as well as in urinary incontinence remedy. For optimal results, practice these exercises for 5 minutes every day, 3 times per day during pregnancy until birth.
Perineal massage 1 month before birth can also help. Once you give birth, initiate the routine of exercises when you feel comfortable.