Once a woman gets to the second stage of labor, she’s just a couple of hours away from having her baby. If it’s a natural birth, of course the woman will push hard during the contractions with some rest in between. Some women may poop during the pushing. Not to worry. It is a common occurrence. The care team will position the woman into whatever posture best suits her. It could by lying on the back, kneeling, getting on the hands or knees and even squatting. A suction device or a forceps may be used to guide the baby out of the uterus. After delivery, the umbilical cord can be cut off by a member of the care team. Thereafter, an organ called the placenta is delivered. The placenta is responsible for the nourishment of the fetus while in the uterus. More contractions will be required to push out the placenta.
If the baby is delivered via the C-section, the medical team will clean and sanitize your belly and administer meds and fluids via a vein in the arm or hand. An anesthesia will be administered to numb the pain. A cut will then be made near the pubic hairline and this continues layer by layer till it gets to the womb. The baby is then pulled out through those cuts, the placenta is removed and the incision closed. A minimum of 2-3 days is required for full recovery of both mother and baby before both are discharged from the hospital.
So what are the few things a mother can expect from the start of labor until the child is delivered?
- Lightening:Lightening occurs when the baby’s head lowers into the pelvis in preparation for delivery. The belly may have a lowered appearance. The mother will also breather easily because the baby is no longer exerting pressure on the lungs. Urination may be a bit frequent because the baby is now pressing on the bladder. This may take place a few weeks to some hours before labor.
- Blood:There may be a release of mucus from the cervix. It usually has a blood-tinged or brownish appearance. This may occur before the onset of labor or a few days before it.
- Diarrhea is also a feature and may be experienced by women. It implies that labor is imminent.
- Ruptured membranes: leakage or gushing of fluid from the vagina simply means that there has been a rupturing of the membrane of the amniotic sac surrounding the baby. This may occur during labor or at least few hours before the labor starts. Majority of women go into labor within 24hours. If the labor does not occur naturally within this period of time, the physicians may be forced to induce labor to avoid delivery complications and infections.
- Contractions:Contractions are a common experience during pregnancy. In fact, it would be very unusual for a woman not to experience periodic, irregular contractions during pregnancy. However, when the frequency and intensity increases (intervals below 10 minutes), then this indicates the onset of labor.
Brief note on the stages of labor
The first stage of labor is divided into the latent, active and transition phases. The latent phase lasts longest. It is however the least intense. Contractions become frequent during this stage, and facilitates dilation of the cervix to ease the passage of the baby through the birth canal. There is minimal discomfort at this stage. The cervix also dilates or thins out at this stage. If the contractions are regular, then the mother may be admitted into the hospital, with frequent pelvic exams being conducted to determine the extent to which the cervix has dilated. The cervix dilates more rapidly during the active phases. Intense pressure or pain may be felt in the abdomen or the back. The mother may also feel the urge to bear down or push. The doctor will ask you to wait until the cervix is fully dilated. During the transition phase, the cervix dilates up to 10 centimeters. Contractions are usually strong, frequent and painful, coming every 3-4 minutes. It lasts between a minute to 90 seconds.
The second stage begins after the complete opening of the cervix. Here, the doctor gives the mother to go-ahead to push. The force of contractions and the pushing propels the baby through the birth canal. After delivery, the doctor cuts the umbilical cord.
After delivery, the mother enters into the final stage of labor.It is at this stage that the placenta is delivered. For first-timers, labor and delivery usually lasts about 12 to 14 hours. Subsequent pregnancies have shorter periods.