It is such a blessing to be a mother. This is what the people say but behind the curtain lays the trepidation of the mother during her entire gestation period.
If you are already in 37 to 42 weeks of your gestation age, if the shortness of breath which you had been feeling since past few weeks have now suddenly disappeared along with frequent desire for urination, if your Braxton Hicks contractions have suddenly become strong, regular and painful, if you feel the water broke…..
“Hey, Momma! Do not worry. It’s me, your little angel!!”
As the glory of motherhood is knocking the doors, get ready to give it a grand welcome! The most awaited time for the delivery of your young one has finally come. It is a gist of symptoms for the approaching labour. Let’s learn how will you know when exactly you are in labour?
Stages of Labor
The normal vaginal labour is classified in to three stages.
First stage: Towards the end of pregnancy, baby’s head ‘ drops ‘ down into the pelvis. Hence, this stage is referred as ‘Dropping’. As a result descent of the uterus into the pelvis occurs facilitating breathing by lessening pressure under the diaphragm. Baby’s head now pushes on to bladder causing frequent desire for urination. This phenomenon is called as ‘Lightening’.
Cervix becomes thinner and dilates in response to baby’s head getting settled into the pelvis. Braxton Hicks contractions becomes stronger and regular coming every 5 to 20 minutes giving constant back pain and cramping. There may be brown or red discharge of mucus plug falling from the opening of the cervix out through vagina. Breach in the membranes of amniotic sac may release the amniotic fluid either in a gush or trickle a little frequently.
First stage of labour lasts about twelve to nineteen hours.
Second stage: This stage of labour lasts for twenty minutes to two hours. During this stage, cervix gets fully dilated to 10cms and baby’s head moves on from cervical canal into birth canal. Doctor or midwife instructs you to push during the contractions and rest between them. Baby’s head is rotated to face your back. Upper segment of uterus actively contracts, thus pushing the baby downward whereas lower segment remains passive, flexible, relaxed and stretched in order to provide more room for the baby to pass through.
When top of the head of the baby can be seen through vagina, this stage is known as ‘crowning’ of fetal head. When baby’s head crowns, a cut is given to vagina called as ‘episiotomy’. It is made to enlarge the vaginal opening to make the process of labour easier. Now doctor instructs to push more to get the baby out.
During this stage of labour, baby’s head moulds in to an elongated shape as it passes through birth canal. This elongated shape resolves into its normal shape as the skull bone shifts back into its normal place. After the head exceeds the birth canal, the shoulders rotate to get delivered one after the other followed by rest of the body. Umbilical cord cut after the baby is born.
Third stage: This is the final stage of labour. It lasts for about five to thirty minutes. Contractions become mild, finally pushing the placenta out of the uterus. You can now breast feed the new borne and start enjoying the your motherhood
Approaching labour can be known by its three main signs. Strong and regular contractions, mucus plug and breaking of water.
Call your mid-wife or doctor on appearance of these symptoms.
“ Watch out this video momma, it’s quite informative!”