Things to Expect Before Vaginal Birth

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Every mother will have completely different experiences with each new labor and delivery. Giving birth is a very emotional and life-changing event that will leave an impression on you for the rest of your life. And of course, you may have many doubts regarding this and may want to know what to expect during this period. Therefore, today we will be learning about what to expect and what may happen as you are delivering your baby.

vaginal birth

In this article:

How to Prepare for a Vaginal Delivery?
Phases of Labor
Pain Relief and Medication During Vaginal Delivery
Meeting your Baby
How Long Does it Take to Heal after Giving Vaginal Birth?
What is a Natural Birth?
If you Need to be Induced
If you Need a C-Section
Vaginal Birth after C-Section (VBAC)
Recovery after Vaginal Birth

Things You Need to Know about Vaginal Delivery

How to Prepare for a Vaginal Delivery?

During the latter part of your pregnancy, you may want to consider carefully what’s important to you, and remember that the overall goal is a healthy mother and baby. Your birth plan outlines may need to be adjusted when the actual situation arrives. You may want to discuss with your partner about who you want to have with you during the birth. Some other things to think prior can be as follows:

  • Create a birth plan so that you and your practitioner are clear about your ideal birth, but also remember that things rarely go according to your plan.
  • Pack your hospital bag with all the things that you think will be necessary during and after the delivery
  • Make sure you visit the hospital or birth center where you want to deliver before your actual due date.
  • Look up some labor positions from the internet; this will give you an idea to choose the one which suits you better.
  • Read about breastfeeding basics, since you may need to give it a shot the moment your baby arrives.
  • Talk to your elders or know from others about the signs of labor, so that you’ll be aware when the baby is ready.

Phases of Labor

Amniotic Sac

The amniotic sac is the fluid-filled membrane surrounding your baby. This sac will rupture before the baby is born, though in some cases it remains intact until delivery. This sac rupture is often described as your “water breaking.”

In most cases, the water will break before you go into labor or at the very beginning of labor. Most women experience their water breaking as a gush of fluid.

Also see if your water is clear and odorless; if it’s yellow, green, or brown, contact your doctor right away.

Contractions

Contractions are tightening and releasing of your uterus and help your baby push through the cervix. They can feel like heavy cramping or pressure that begins in your back and moves to the front. The timing and intensity of contractions can help clue you in to which phase of labor you’re in. When you are having contractions that last for a minute, are five minutes apart, and have been so for an hour, you’re in true labor.

Cervix Dilation

The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. It has a tubular structure approximately 3 to 4 centimeters in length with a passage that connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. When your cervix reaches 10 cm mark, then you are fully dilated and ready to deliver the baby.

Pushing and Delivery

After the cervix is dilated, it’s your turn to push your baby the rest of the way through the birth canal. In most cases women find that transitional labor is the most demanding and intense phase of labor but fortunately it is also the shortest, usually lasting 15 minutes to an hour. As your baby crowns and you push him or her out, a tingling, stretching or burning sensation is felt which is called the “ring of fire” for a reason.

Delivery of the Placenta

This is the final stage of labor where you will continue to have mild contractions as your practitioner helps deliver your baby’s placenta. They will examine it as well as your uterus to be sure that everything has happened as expected.

Pain Relief and Medication During Vaginal Delivery

Many women think that vaginal birth is painful. But to be true, it is not as everyone thinks, since vaginal delivery is not that of a pain. A number of medications are now available that can manage your labor pain, including Demerol, laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and the epidural, make your labor pain bearable or not so difficult for you.

Meeting your Baby

If you have delivered your baby without any complications then you will be able to hold your baby and breastfeed right away, while your practitioner repairs any tears, and helps you deliver the placenta.

While you feed your little bundle, take some quality snuggling together and speak up, since your baby will recognize your and your partner’s voice. You may feel an immediate bond with your baby, or you may feel somewhat detached. Both responses are completely normal. Hold your baby in your arms close to you, this will help the baby recognize you and creates the bond.

How Long Does it Take to Heal after Giving Vaginal Birth?

Based on a lot of factors it varies from person to person to know whether your vagina will recover soon or later. It generally might last for about three to five weeks to heal if you didn’t have any tearing, and about six weeks if you had perineal tears or an episiotomy.

What is a Natural Birth?

A vaginal birth with little to no medical intervention is called a natural birth. Sometimes alternative therapies are used to manage labor pain naturally, like acupuncture, hypno-birthing, water birth, reflexology and distraction.

Though one can get all of these therapies and more by giving birth at a hospital, most of the low-risk moms choose to deliver in a birthing center, where all births can be managed without the use of medication. And for the one’s considering home birth, be aware of the risks and know that not every woman is a good candidate in helping to deliver a baby. So having the presence of a physician or certified midwife is mandatory.

If you Need to be Induced

If you have a pregnancy which has complications that puts your life or your baby’s life at risk, or if you have reached 42 weeks and still don’t feel the contractions, or if 24 hours have passed since your water broke and the contractions have not yet started. Your practitioner will help your cervix dilate and efface, then possibly rupture your membranes if they haven’t already broken, and if those techniques don’t work, administer Pitocin (a synthetic version of the labor-inducing hormone oxytocin). After you are induced, you will start feeling the contractions in full swing and your labor will progress just like a non-induced labor.

If you Need a C-Section

Sometimes you will have to go for the c-section, though you have set your mind for vaginal birth. The reasons may be chronic conditions like heart disease- which makes vaginal delivery dangerous, a pregnancy complication- like placenta problems or preeclampsia, the size of your baby, your age, and your weight, carrying multiples, or having a baby in breech position.

Even if you are scheduled to give birth vaginally, your doctor may have to perform an emergency C-section during the birth process if the labor doesn’t start within time, or if your baby is in fetal distress, if you have a prolapsed umbilical cord or if you have uterine rupture. Whatever the birth process may be you have to remember that the best birth is always the one that’s the safest. In the end, a healthy mother and baby is your success.

Vaginal Birth after C-Section (VBAC)

Some women keep wondering whether they’ll be able to have a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC). After you have given birth through c-section the previous time, a number of factors may increase or decrease your odds. It is best to have a talk with your practitioner regarding the safest way of birth for you and your baby.

Recovery after Vaginal Birth

The first six weeks after your delivery are considered as “recovery” period or the “fourth trimester”. For the first week of postpartum, you may experience vaginal bleeding, cramps, exhaustion, perineal discomfort, difficulty urinating and making bowel movements, and body aches, among other physical symptoms. Emotionally, you may have the baby blues or feel jittery, excited, overwhelmed or frustrated. It depends on the support and care you get from your family members whether you will recover quickly or take some time.

While your body takes time to recover, and sometimes you may also have the symptoms of postpartum depression including feelings of hopelessness, sleep problems, lost appetite, irritability, social withdrawal, excessive worry and aversion to your baby. Postpartum depression is mostly common in women since the attention of the family members shifts to the newborn baby. Talk to your practitioner regarding this, since both you and your baby need to have a good bonding. But keep in mind that gradually over time, the symptoms will recede, you will start bonding with your baby, and you will feel like having sex again.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/intrapartum-care-vaginal-delivery

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/normal-labor-and-delivery-process#1

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!

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