Labor: all stages from the first symptoms of childbirth to the birth of the baby

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Labor delivery

No woman can be wrong aboutonset of labor e of childbirth: i symptoms are unmistakable, the contractions they are different from the preparatory ones that accompanied us for the last period of pregnancy and the presumed date of birth has arrived. In short, we are aware that we are about to meet our son but we are full of fears, doubts and questions. How labor works in childbirth? How does it start, how does it take place, what complications can occur, how long does the birth last? This guide on the labor in pregnancy will try to answer all these questions.

The childbirth preparation course

Attend a childbirth preparation course it will be very useful to us! Being able to have a discussion with experts such as the midwife, the psychologist, the neonatologist can help us to calm anxieties and to have the answers to the most common questions. 

In addition, the childbirth preparation course has an important role as it teaches various breathing methods that are useful especially during labor and during the expulsive phase, autogenous training is practiced, one learns to accept pain and to be crossed by it as if it were a wave by learning to conserve the energy needed during the thrusts that will bring our puppy into the world.


How to get contractions: all methods

How to stimulate contractions? Here are some methods, real and otherwise

So yes to the courses organized by the counseling center and hospital, if possible let yours also participate partner that during pregnancy you can feel a little excluded from the symbiosis between mother and baby, and especially if you intend to let him in the delivery room too, knowing in advance what will happen and how it can be useful will certainly be useful.

Symptoms of labor and delivery

La prodromal phase marks the onset of labor. THE signals that labor has begun can be many and different from pregnancy to pregnancy, so it is useless to rely on other people's stories, but it is better to focus on all the bells and try to base ourselves on these and understand if our symptoms are present among them , which can occur together or alone.

However, in most cases, when the first symptoms are felt it is very wrong to rush to the hospital immediately because the actual labor will probably begin later. several hours and it is not certain that in the hospital, if they see that the birth is still far away, they will hospitalize us risking to send us back home and stress us for nothing.

It often happens a few days before giving birth to feel some sign that this is imminent, for example having pain in the back, kidneys and lower abdomen, such as classic menstrual pains or even feeling contractions which, however, with the passing of the minutes instead of increasing and get closer, diminish until they cease.

Labor in childbirth how to recognize it

However, there are some things that immediately make us realize that labor has begun. Let's see them:

  • Rupture of the ammniotic sac

The bag that contains the baby and the amniotic fluid breaks, giving rise to labor, suddenly we feel hot liquid descend, but it is not urine, or we lose droplets of transparent and odorless liquid: it is the amniotic fluid. When this spontaneously breaks out of the hospital environment, it is necessary to go to the hospital immediately to avoid infections and most likely the labor will take place in bed without the possibility of being able to move and assume the positions we prefer.

  • Loss of the mucous plug

The famous cap that closes the cervix; made of gelatinous substance and whitish mucous membrane, often with pinkish streaks, it can also be accompanied by droplets of blood. Labor has begun! Let's prepare calmly and are in no hurry to rush to the hospital. Sometimes if there are no other symptoms such as discharge, rupture of the sac, or close contractions, it can take days before labor begins.

  • The first contractions

the uterus contracts, contractions are also felt in the lumbar and hips. It often happens towards the end of pregnancy to feel the contractions, but only if these continue after half an hour and instead of diminishing and distancing they get closer and become more intense, they are the good ones! If we have them every 10 minutes or so, it's time to leave for the hospital.

Stages of labor of childbirth

Labor is divided into phases:

  • Initial phase: the first contractions are spaced and too weak, the cervix begins to dilate up to 3 cm
  • Active phase: contractions are becoming more frequent and more painful. The cervix dilates up to 4 cm and then dilates more and more.
  • Transition phase: the cervix continues to dilate and the baby presses to exit
  • Expulsive phase: the cervix will be dilated by 10 cm and we will finally be able to push to let the baby out
  • Secondamento: the contractions continue to expel the placenta

Onset of labor

As mentioned, labor can begin with small and weak contractions very far apart, in this case it is not necessary to rush to the hospital, on the contrary if the waters break and labor begins suddenly it is good to call the gynecologist.

Labor: how it begins and how to understand if delivery is near

During the early stage of labor, where there are no contraindications and if the sac of membranes is intact, it is recommended to stay at home, relax, take a warm (not hot) shower or bath, listen to music, sleep ...

In this first phase the first contractions have begun but they are still too weak and spaced, the pain is still light and bearable and the onset of actual labor could also begin later. 6 or 8 hours in women at the first birth; it is now that the cervix begins to dilate until it reaches a dilation of 3 cm, and from now on it should dilate by at least 1 cm per hour.

Labor in natural childbirth

After the initial phase, labor continues like this:

  • Active phase

The cervix is ​​dilated by at least 4 cm and continues to dilate as time passes, the contractions have become more frequent, more or less every 2/5 minutes and their duration has increased, between 25 to 60 seconds, they are more painful and from this moment the woman who intends to request epidural analgesia, may request it. In the trace it is very clear that the duration reaches its peak while they distance themselves less and less, indicating that the labor is proceeding well and the cervix is ​​dilating more and more.

  • Transition phase

It is certainly the most difficult phase and painful, the cervix continues to dilate and the baby presses. Characteristic of this phase is the desire to "to push": The pressure exerted by the baby as it descends gives the mother the feeling of oppression in the pelvis and sometimes also in the rectum, the only advice is to try to follow the advice of the midwife and do not push until we are given the ok because by doing so we risk causing lacerations! At this stage the dilation will probably have reached i 7 / 8 cm and in a very short time it can reach complete dilation, in fact the contractions now last 60/90 seconds and are separated by 2/3 minutes, giving you time to catch your breath. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, urge to defecate (due to the baby's pressure), tremors, fatigue, chills or heat will likely be felt: all normal symptoms!

  • Expulsive phase

 If the cervix has reached i 10 cm the midwife will make us sit on the birth table and here begins the expulsive phase, a little more patience and we will have our child in our arms! If this is the case, the midwife could practiceepisiotomy, the incision between the vagina and anus that facilitates the descent of the baby and avoids lacerations to the mother. After a few pushes we will hear our baby cry!

  • Secondamento

The mother has to stay a while longer in the delivery room: after the birth of the baby, the mother must also be expelled placenta and generally it takes a maximum of half an hour. After that the mother will be disinfected and tamponed and if necessary the sutures will be applied. In the two hours following the birth, she will remain in a cot in a room next to the delivery room, a practice to control any post-partum complications including bleeding.

Pains of labor and delivery

How to feel less pain during labor? And is the pain really that bad?

Undoubtedly you are giving birth with pain, but all women who have had a baby with the Natural childbirth they agree on one thing: pain seems to be an integral part of birth, it is a useful, functional pain, and in the end it suddenly disappears, leaving only a large satisfaction. Certainly it is not necessary to give birth with pain, there are effective methods to suffer less, from homeopathic remedies for labor to the laughing gas that is being experienced in some hospitals, from the most suitable position to feel less pain up, of course, to the epidural anesthesia. Some hospitals are also experimenting with foot reflexology and acupressure techniques in labor to help the parturient to better tolerate pain.

Epidural anesthesia in labor

Epidural anesthesia can be requested by all women who are giving birth. If you are going to have an epidural you must:

  • Make sure that the birth center of your choice practices the epidural and that the presence of the anesthetist is guaranteed 24 hours a day;
  • Ask for an epidural in the active phase;
  • Be aware that in some cases it is not possible to have an epidural and maybe you will only find out when labor has begun.

Breathing during labor and delivery

La proper breathing it is certainly an effective method for reducing pain, relieving tension and participating in childbirth in a more peaceful way. During the preparation courses, the midwives will show you some exercises to breathe correctly that will be very useful during labor to push effectively.

Induction of labor and delivery

When the pregnancy has come to an end and the contractions have not started and the baby does not seem to want to go out, the doctor will probably advise you to wait until the 41st-42nd week and then induce labor. Generally the contractions are induced with theoxytocin, a synthetic hormone that, just like in childbirth that starts spontaneously, initiates contractions. In some cases, if the delivery is beyond term, the doctor will practice a rupture of the amniotic sac.

Labor room and delivery room

In birth centers, hospitals and clinics there are delivery rooms, where the woman is only allowed to enter when she has reached the active or expulsive phase. During labor, the parturient is left in the room in the early stages, in order to walk, lie down, sit and move more freely during contractions, or in a dedicated area for labor. There delivery room has a cot, like the one we see at the gynecologist, where the woman is made to lie down in the expulsive phase. There are also birth centers where maximum freedom is left to the parturient to find the most comfortable position to take to let the baby out, or where the delivery room is a comfortable room with soft lights and a tub where she can give birth in water.

Labor and delivery video

On the net we certainly find the childbirth video. Are we sure we want to see them? If we are easily impressionable, perhaps it is better to avoid. In any case, know that all the videos that can be found online have a high level of pathos and a happy ending in common: a child being held in her mother's arms!

Here are some videos on childbirth:

  • A home birth with natural birth
  • Videos with original sounds

Labor of the second birth

The second birth is said to be more and more Quick. In fact, a primipara, that is a woman who is in her first pregnancy, can more easily experience a pregnancy beyond the term, a difficulty in starting labor spontaneously and a longer birth, on the contrary generally the second birth it's faster, and you already know how it works and what to expect! However every woman and every pregnancy are different from each other and there is always a chance that everything is different from what we expect.

How to push during childbirth

By attending a preparto course we will know with certainty how to push and especially when. In the transition phase the child presses to exit and the desire and instinct to push is very strong. But it is not yet the right time, because the cervix is ​​not fully dilated and it would create lacerations. To start pushing, you have to wait for the expulsive phase.

What does it feel like during childbirth

Each woman talks about childbirth with her words and emotions and in fact every experience is different. Certainly the family context, the place where she is giving birth and also the health personnel who are assisting the woman in childbirth are very important. The pain naturally remains one of the main characteristics of labor: at first with bearable and spaced contractions which then become more and more intense and close together. But in the end only there remain satisfaction el 'unique emotion to have given birth to her child and to finally be able to hold him in her arms.

How long does labor last

The question is common among pregnant women. In reality there is no precise and indicative data for all pregnant women. Some give birth in a few hours, while others go through a labor of up to 10-12 hours. Let's say that, on average, labor lasts between 6 and the 12 hours. However, it is impossible to make a prediction.

The moon affects labor

Many women are convinced that in the days of full moon increase the chances of going into labor. According to these observations from hospitals, an increase in the number of births would be recorded on full moon nights. In fact, both showed no relationship between full moon and labor. That is, there is no study that has shown that the phases of the moon can influence labor.

How to facilitate labor naturally

If you have reached the fortieth week of pregnancy and "everything is silent", you may begin and ask yourself how to go about facilitate the arrival of contractions and start labor. Given that there are numerous methods pharmacological and medical to start labor and that only health personnel will be able to put them into practice when they deem it appropriate, the fact remains that, according to popular tradition, some practices can favor contractions: stimulation of the nipples, for example, intercourse sexual or a nice walk.

What does the baby feel during labor

During labor it is not only the mother who has an active part, but the baby also experiences a moment of intense stress. It has to channel into the birth canal, press to exit, feel the head crush and experience a lack of oxygen. Her state of health is carefully monitored in the delivery room. And of course her final liberating cry is not of joy (like her mother's), but probably of pure terror: she is cold, her lungs have to breathe suddenly, there are unknown lights and noises. Only themom's warm hug, her voice and her smell will be able to calm him down.

What to wear during labor

The ideal is to wear comfortable clothing: a jumpsuit, pajamas or a nightgown. Let's not forget the wool socks to keep your feet warm. In any case, we ask the nursing staff or midwife how it is best to dress for labor.

Eating during labor

For decades, women were forbidden to eat and drink during labor, to ward off possible complications in case of anesthesia. Today this prohibition is no longer so strict, it only resists in some cases that are more at risk, such as a woman suffering from preeclampsia or highly overweight.

The songs to listen to

Music can play a key role in labor: helps to relax, accompanies the breath, distracts from pain and helps our body in the production of endorphins. We therefore recommend that you prepare one playlist for birth quite long, to be listened to in the delivery room and during the different stages of labor. On Spotify you can find many songs selected and chosen by users to accompany one of the most beautiful moments in a mother's life.

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