The Labour

There are three stages of labour. Stage 1, the preparatory stage, stage 2, the pushing stage and stage 3, delivering the placenta and anything else remaining (including the gushing down of amniotic fluid).

The baby is pushed downwards and almost reaches the end of the birth canal, with the head (usually) to be born first – Stage 1.

This is the birth of your baby and is usually a lot shorter than the first stage. – Stage 2

This is the delivery of the placenta, which takes 15 to 30 minutes. – Stage 3

Stage 1 is further divided into latent phase, active phase and transition. Women get admitted into hospital during the active phase of stage 1.

Detailed information on all three stages can be found here as well.

More things to know:

Membrane sweeping (stage 1)

Membrane sweeping is done by your midwife or doctor. While internally examining you, he or she will simply “sweep” a finger around the neck of your womb (cervix). The aim is to separate the membranes around your baby from your cervix. This releases hormones called prostaglandins, which may kick-start your labour.

I haven’t heard anything negative about membrane sweep. I would go for it, if I have to go for normal delivery.

Episiotomy (stage 2)

An episiotomy is a surgical cut in the perineum, the muscular area between the vagina and the back passage. […..] Your midwife might suggest one if your baby is becoming distressed and needs to be born quickly, or if she thinks that you may tear very badly unless the opening from the vagina is carefully enlarged.

Spontaneous tears are less painful or at least no more painful for women in the days after the birth than episiotomies. 

After hearing some after effects of episiotomy, I have decided strongly against it, if I have to go for normal delivery.

Preferred Baby position (Edited to add)
Baby should be in a) head down position and b) anterior position for a “smooth” delivery.  Anterior position means face of the baby facing the backbone of the mother, or back of the head of the baby facing the tummy side of the mother. Babies in posterior position (sunny side up obabies r facing up babies) take longer to come out and might need some help! Posterior position is not uncommon for the first time mothers. posterior babies may change their position before coming out and vice versa (anterior babies may come out facing up). There is a theory on why and how this posterior position happens and how to help the baby to be in anterior position before delivery. I tried and hurt my back more. Related link is back labour

Positions for labour and relaxation in labour are good reads as well. Ask your partner to read on Massage in labour thoroughly. It is always a good idea for men to know all about labour process, options, pain reliefs, onset of labour and everything about this child birth process. You do not want your partner to be blank and choosing options you didn’t want when you are not in a position to explain about it. You do not want them to annoy you just by being ignorant, certainly not when you are in labour.  

Drink  as much fluid as you can before and during labour.

Eat well before labour. Do not know whether we can eat during labour (after active phase of stage 1).

Edited to add: Breathing techniques for labour

Edited to add (just remembered):
1. Ventouse used in our hospital is really cool and not at all scary. Not only that it gives a feeling of safe delivery. if I had seen that earlier I would not have minded having epidural, so, long delivery, so ventouse. I might even have asked them to go for ventouse from the begining. (OK, I need to read on what effect the suction will have on baby and how much suction is acceptable).  But not all hospitals in UK use that model. The old models look like the one we use at home to clear dainage block! 😦 I will try to find pictures of these two models and post them here.
2. Birth units are really cool. Very nicely furnished and nicely decorated. But they are for 100% sraight forward delivery (midwife led units and only midwife led units), meaning not even epidural.

Will edit to add as I remember more.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. B o o.
    Dec 05, 2007 @ 16:22:06

    While you are at it, read about Back Labor too. Some info here

    I had a slight bloody show and then the back pain started. Before my pregnancy, I was also thinking that the labor pain is in the Vagina and thought that the baby coming out of the small hole as the reason for all pain. But of course, the baby coming out is the easiest part of the labor. Like the wise souls said, prasava vali mattum patta dhaan theriyum! 😉


  2. Premalatha
    Dec 05, 2007 @ 18:47:38

    Boo, i used to think that contraction means “shrink, expand, shrink, expand” and at the vagina. In my defence, the word does imply that and if you use a logical imagination on how the baby gets pushed out, … 🙂
    Me too thought all the pain is because the hole is small and the babies are too big.
    prasava vali enakku theriyaathu as I am going for C Sect! Doctor told me I am making a very very wrong choice. But I am happy for now. 🙂


  3. Anitha
    Dec 06, 2007 @ 01:21:23

    It took me 2 weeks after the bloody show to go into labor. btw, why did the doc say you are making a very very wrong choice with c-sec? I had post-natal depression for 6-8 weeks. I would feel depressed and cry for nothing. Sometimes I even regretted having the baby. My depression was mostly because of the post-partum complications I faced, I do not even dread pregnancy or labor, postpartum is absolute nightmare for me. I am not scaring you, but be prepared and get help, don’t feel guilty if you have stupid thoughts about you or the baby.


  4. Premalatha
    Dec 06, 2007 @ 08:41:34

    //It took me 2 weeks after the bloody show to go into labor.//
    Will make a note of it Anitha. Thanks.

    //btw, why did the doc say you are making a very very wrong choice with c-sec?//

    C sect is discouraged in UK for several reasons.
    1. cost cutting by NHS
    2. It is a major surgery and has all the threats a major surgery poses.
    3. recovery time is longer than normal delivery.
    4. Handling baby will be difficult. Here in UK they want the mother to handle the baby before even the cutting the cord off. (they put the baby on mother’s chest to let the baby hear mother’s heart beat so that it feels some comfort by hearing a familiar sound she has been hearing until then).
    6. C sect is not natural. It is medical intervention. There has to be a genuine medical reason for the medical intervention to happen otherwise doctors do not feel comfortable with it.
    7. My pregnancy so far has not warranted any medical intervention. Though my baby is in breech position now, I still got time. It can change position before 36 weeks.
    (I must add these points in the post too).
    I had depression just after finding out that I was pregnant. Though I wanted it, though I planned it, I didn’t like it when the result was positive. I was not happy about it. At that time I hadn’t announced it to the world. So, I couldn’t post about it. I didn’t like the fact that I do not have the freedom anymore at all. I didn’t want the baby. I didn’t take photo of my blue line. I cried everyday. Balan was shocked.
    I do not think Balan understands how to deal with a depressed person. When I am depressed he considers me like normal premalatha and gets annoyed of me.
    I do not know what he is going to do now. As my mother is here, hopefully things will be different this time. I sure will report to the health visitor if I face depression after delivery. Also, I am thinking the recovery period after C sect will give me time off from baby initially, which itself will take care of any depression problem.


  5. Trackback: Contractions « The normal self

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