While pregnancy takes nine months to grow a full-term baby, labor and delivery occurs in a matter of days or even hours. However, it is the process of labor and delivery that tends to occupy the minds of expectant parents the most.
Labor has started or is coming soon if one experience symptoms such as:
Real labor has most likely arrived when contractions become regular and are painful.
Many women experience irregular contractions sometime after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Known as Braxton Hicks contractions, they are typically painless. At most, they are uncomfortable and are irregular.
Braxton Hicks contractions can sometimes be triggered by an increase in either mother or babies activity, or a full bladder. No one fully understands the role Braxton Hicks contractions play in pregnancy.
They may promote blood flow, help maintain uterine health during the pregnancy, or prepare the uterus for childbirth.
Labor and delivery are divided into three stages. The first stage of labor incorporates the onset of labor through the complete dilation of the cervix. This stage is further subdivided into three stages.
This is normally the longest and least intense phase of labor. Early labor is also called the latent phase of labor. This period includes the thinning of the cervix and dilation of the cervix to 3-4 cm. It can occur over several days, weeks, or just a few short hours.
Contractions vary during this phase and can range from mild to strong, occurring at regular or irregular intervals. Other symptoms during this phase can include backache, cramps, and a bloody mucus discharge.
Most women will be ready to go to the hospital at the end of early labor. However, many women will arrive at the hospital or birthing center when they are still in early labor.
The next phase of the first stage of labor occurs as the cervix dilates from 3-4 cm to 7 cm. Contractions become stronger and other symptoms may include backache and blood.
This is the most intense phase of labor with a sharp increase in contractions. They become strong and occur about two to three minutes apart, and average 60 to 90 seconds. The last 3 cm of dilation usually occur in a very short period of time.
During the second stage, the cervix is fully dilated. Some women may feel the urge to push right away or soon after they’re fully dilated. The baby may still be high up in the pelvis for other women.
It may take some time for the baby to descend with the contractions so that it’s low enough for the mother to start pushing.
Women who don’t have an epidural typically have an overwhelming urge to push, or they have significant rectal pressure when the baby is low enough in the pelvis.
Women with an epidural may still have an urge to push and they may feel rectal pressure, although typically not as intensely. Burning or stinging in the vagina as the baby’s head crowns is also common.
It’s important to try to stay relaxed and rest between contractions. This is when your labor coach or doula can be very helpful.
The placenta will be delivered after the baby has been born. Mild contractions will help separate the placenta from the uterine wall and move it down towards the vagina. Stitching to mend a tear or surgical cut (episiotomy) will occur after the placenta is delivered.
Indicated for relief of soreness that comes from physical exertion and muscle strain.Also useful for soreness after labor and delivery, and for hemorrhoids that follow childbirth.
Helpful to strengthen a woman who tends toward easy tiredness, poor digestion, cold hands and feet, and poor absorption of nutrients. Suited when women find only "junk food" appealing during pregnancy, or have cravings for smoked and salty food.There is history of easy tooth decay and aching bones and joints
Helpful to women with weak muscle tone in the uterus. There is history of irregular periods, slow and difficult labor with previous deliveries, or weakness of the cervix.Suited to woman who may feel erratic pains like sticking needles, or episodes of contracting pain. There is feeling of nervous, shaky, and trembling (sometimes irritable, as well).
Helpful to a woman who feels weak and faint during pregnancy, with poor circulation.There is a general feeling of coldness and a craving for fresh or moving air. Also there is frequent digestive upsets with burning pain and a tendency to belch.
Helpful to women who are nervous and talkative, with a tendency to feel fearful and gloomy during pregnancy. Givenwhen she may become overagitated and fear a miscarriage ,sometimes having pains that feel like labor pains too early, or pains that shoot from hip to hip and down the thighs.
Suited to woman who has a sturdy build, but looks very pale and weary,flushing red from any exertion or emotion. Also helpful in correcting anemic tendencies.
Helpful for nervous, sensitive women who often feel weak or tired, with easy flushing of the face and a tendency toward anemia. Suited to woman who needs this remedy often has a slender build and may develop frequent neck and shoulder stiffness.
Helpful at times of strong hormonal changes, especially to women who are moody and emotional, and want a lot of affection and attention. There is craving of desserts or butter and may overeat, which can lead to indigestion and nausea, or excessive weight-gain. Given to pregnant women who need this remedy feel uncomfortable in hot weather and in stuffy rooms, improving from gentle exercise in open air.
Suited to women who are tired, dragged out, and irritable during pregnancy.Useful for poor circulation, nausea, constipation,There is a tendency toward accidental urine loss.There is a feeling of sagging or weakness in the pelvic floor.