Pregnancy

Labor Pains and Delivery

Every woman’s experiences with labor and delivery are unique. Without knowing what to expect, new moms can be nervous about the pain involved. Many times they look back and realize it was not as bad as they expected. There are a few basic and important things which you need to know when it comes to labor and delivery.

What is labor?
Labor is a group of steps your uterus (womb) goes through to deliver your baby. Although you could be told the expectant dates for your baby, there is no fool-proof way to know exactly when labor will start and when your baby will be born.

What does my due date mean?
Your doctor gives you a due date, which is a rough idea when your baby will be born. This date is only a guide and there is no guarantee that your baby will be born on this day. Infact, most women do not have their baby on the due date. You should not be worried if you do not deliver your baby on your due date. Labor may start two weeks before or after your due date and still be normal.

How do you know you are in labor?
If you are in true labor, each contraction will last about 30 to 60 seconds. The contractions will come and go at regular times. Your contractions will get stronger and closer together as you labor. You will also have more pain during contractions as they get closer together. The contractions will not go away when you move around or lie down. They feel like intense menstrual cramps, and can occur in your back as well. Some women experience back labor which they do not expect, and therefore fail to realize that they are in labor when they have back pain.

You may have had false labor pains during your pregnancy. Sometimes it is hard to know if you are having false labor pains or true labor pains. You may need a vaginal exam (“internal exam”) to know if you are really in labor.

What happens during labor?

There are primarily three stages as a part of labor which are as follows:

  • Stage 1: The cervix is the bottom part of the uterus (womb). During the first part of labor as your uterus contracts, the cervix thins out. The cervix then opens to let your baby pass through the cervix into the vagina.
  • Stage 2: This is the stage that ends with the birth of your baby. During this stage, the uterus continues to contract to push your baby through the birth canal.
  • Stage 3: This is the last stage of labor. It is when the placenta comes out of the uterus through the vagina. The placenta is also called the afterbirth.” It is the tissue (skin) that joins you to your baby. Its job is to bring food to your baby and take away waste.

 

With proper medical care, many women feel just fine during labor and delivery. Knowing what to expect can help an expectant mother at such an exciting time.

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