Giving Birth

Heres a quick guide to giving birth from contractions to labor and delivery, to make your childbirth easier and aware.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Giving Birth
Giving Birth

Giving birth to a baby is the most magical experience for a mother. The magic is, of course, not devoid of pain, anxiety, discomforts or risks; yet after facing all of it, when at the end, you feel your baby at your bosoms, you are sure to call it magic.

Giving Birth: A Quick Guide to your D-Day

The closer you are to your due date, the more troubled you may become. The anxieties and doubts that precede your labor may not be anything sort of easy. To serve you the answers for the most common questions on labor and giving birth, all at one place here is a helpful compilation:

What are the common signs of labor?

The most common signs of labor are as follows, 

1. Mucus plug release: The mucus plug that has been protecting your cervix may begin to come out all at once or little by little over a period of a few days or hours. You’ll see a glob of thick mucus if it’s the first case or tinges of vaginal discharge in your underwear, for latter, over a period of weeks, days or hours. While this is a sure sign of labor, you cannot predict how far you are to labor. 

2. Diarrhea: Diarrhea could be a lesser-known sign of labor. Though it is not one of the sure signs, several pregnant moms-to-be report to have had diarrhea a few hours or days before labor began. Perhaps, it is nature’s way to clean up the bowels before labor. 

3. Frequent, stronger contractions: Intense contractions which occur every thirty minutes call for a close watch for true labor. With stronger contractions, you are getting dilated and when they get apart by only five minutes or closer, you are into active labor. And a sure signal to call your OB immediately!

4. Water Breaks Water leaking either as a sudden gush or a slow release in trickles after breaking of the amniotic sac needs to be immediately followed by labor. If your water breaks before going into labor, you may have to reach the hospital immediately in order to prevent infection. Your OB will do an examination to check the dilation and effacement of your cervix, depending on which, you may be asked to wait for labor to set, induction or call for an emergency. 

How to differentiate labor contractions from false labor?

Here are the marked differences between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions:

Braxton Hicks Contractions Labor Contractions Occur at irregular intervals Occur at regular intervals (Ex., every 5 minutes) Not usually painful  Gets painful in time Feels like contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles Feels like tightening from the top of the uterus so as to push the baby through the birth canal. During a contraction, uterus gets hardened and gets back to normal in-between two contractions With time, the intensity of contractions fade and do not get closer Becomes increasingly stronger and closer, like from 5 minutes apart, to 3 minutes apart, to 2 minutes apart and so on Subsides with a change in position or after peeing Changes in position have no effect on the contractions What are the common situations that demand a C-section?

 

Here are a few situations when C-section delivery is scheduled:

  • The baby is in breech; that is, instead of the expected head-down position, the baby is in the bottoms-down or feet-down position. 
  • You are carrying more than one baby, like in the case of carrying twins or triplets.
  • You previously had uterine surgery, like a C-section for your first baby. 
  • If there is a problem with the position of the placenta – in rare cases, placenta might cover the cervix (called placenta previa).
  • If you or the baby had been diagnosed with any medical complications - that might pose a risk during vaginal birth. 
Below are a few reasons why emergency C-sections are done:

 

  • Labor contractions aren’t getting intense as expected and pain or induction medicines aren’t working on your body.
  • Baby’s heart rate becomes abnormal or any condition that signals fetal distress. 
  • Baby has already released meconium out while still in the womb. This poses a risk of baby breathing it into the lungs or choking the throat. 
  • Complications that can arise out of umbilical cord issues, like wrapping the baby around in a dangerous angle or umbilical cord prolapse (blocking the birth canal before the baby can pass through).
What can I do to bring on labor?

No medical technique has been declared for pregnant moms to try on themselves to kick-start labor. However, here are a few known ideas we have from around the world (which doesn’t vouch for safety or effectiveness) which you can discuss with your midwife or doctor:

  • Sex: Of course, sex isn’t anywhere on your mind now. Yet, it is believed that having an orgasm can be a forerunner of contractions to begin. Also, prostaglandins present in semen are found to induce labor though there aren’t detailed studies on the two. If it doesn’t hurt or put you down, you can try it one last time before you become a family.
  • Nipple stimulation: Gently rubbing the nipples in a circular motion is known to release oxytocin, the hormone that can induce labor. However, proper studies have not proven it though. Be aware that over-stimulation can have the risk of adverse effects.
  • A long walk or climbing staircase: A long, leisure walk at full-term is said to set your uterus to go into contractions as is gentle climbing of a staircase.

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I am past my due date but there is no sign of labor. What will happen now?
  • If your cervix isn’t dilated or ‘ripened’, prostaglandins will be administered through the vagina. This will induce cervical ripening and labor contractions.
  • If your body does not respond to prostaglandins or if your cervix is already dilated and thinned-out, Pitocin (a drug that contains oxytocin) will be administered intravenously to induce labor.
  • If contractions have started but labor doesn’t progress, your doctor may perform Artificial Rupture of Membranes (AROM), a manual breaking of the amniotic sac.

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