Natural childbirth, how does it happen? The stages of labor, dilation and epidural

Natural childbirth, how does it happen? The stages of labor, dilation and epidural
Fonte: shutterstock

Natural childbirth

Il delivery approaches. Most women who are expecting a baby and are nearing the end of their pregnancy dream of experiencing a natural birth. But there are many doubts and questions that come to mind. Questions concerning the pain, the epidural, the sensations that will be felt and the ways in which labor occurs.

In this article

How does natural childbirth take place?

  • In the hours preceding childbirth there are pains that characterize the so-called prodromal phase. The contractions help the baby engage in the birth canal and last for hours, occur on a regular basis, and are ever closer together.
  • But how does the actual labor of natural birth begin? It begins with the loss of the mucous plug, a gelatinous substance that may also be streaked with bloodstains, caused by the rupture of the uterine capillaries.

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Natural childbirth, how to get prepared in the delivery room? Here are ten tips to follow

  • Le contractions gradually they become more and more frequent and with them begins the phase of expansion which can last up to a few hours. The contractions exert a kind of compressions on the baby to help him get out, a movement that looks like that of a wave that comes and goes.
  • In the first phase of labor, the waters generally break spontaneously, otherwise we will proceed with theamnioressi, the manual breaking of the waters. When the dilation comes to ten centimeters in diameter it means that the cervix has completely flattened against the uterine wall and the baby has plenty of room to get out.
  • When the baby's head begins to show, the woman will be invited to push. The thrusts must be carried out from the stomach and must be prolonged to accommodate the baby's exit.
  • After the baby comes out, the contractions stop and then resume to expel the placenta (afterbirth).

Natural birth or cesarean

In the country, the percentage of caesareans is far too high. 40% of the births are exceeded, against the 20% indicated by the World Health Organization as the maximum limit. Why are these figures so high? Because many women, frightened by the idea of ​​pain and natural childbirth, expressly ask to give birth in the operating room, because doctors organize themselves better by planning the date of delivery, and perhaps because the epidural is not sufficiently widespread, guaranteed, promoted and refunded.

Given this, it is good to know that:

  • natural childbirth guarantees very short shooting times. Generally, you get up after a few hours, walk, breastfeed and feel better.
  • Caesarean delivery is a surgical procedure so for the first 24-48 hours it forces the woman to bed with the drip and the catheter. There is no pain during childbirth, but then comes the pain caused by the wound.

If you are afraid of feeling too much pain and not knowing how to bear it, you can:

  • attend a pre-school course that teaches proper breathing techniques
  • to ask the epidural and contact a center that guarantees it 24 hours a day

Natural childbirth after caesarean

If the first birth took place with a caesarean, this does not prevent you from being able to give birth naturally the second time. According to the evidence, the previous caesarean does not seem to represent in itself an adequate indication for a new caesarean. In short, all women may think they can give birth naturally the second time, even if things went differently for the first child (in this case we are talking about VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean, vaginal birth after cesarean).

Now let's see in detail the most important information on natural childbirth.

Mucous plug

Before the big event, symptoms related to the phase of searchable; these are physical changes that may occur a month or more before, or an hour or two before actual labor. Among these is also the loss of the mucous plug, a transparent and gelatinous mass which during the nine months has acted as a barrier against external aggression, closing the cervix. It is lost with the onset of the uterus dilation phase and not all women notice it. This mucus plug moves and may pass into the vagina a week or two before the first real contractions, or before labor. Loss of the mucous plug indicates that the body is preparing for birth, but not that it has arrived or is imminent; labor may start within a couple of days or weeks.

Contractions of childbirth

But when does labor start right? It is not known exactly what triggers the start of the delivery, possibly a chain reaction that triggers a hormonal change that triggers the onset of contractions. How to distinguish pre-labor contractions from early labor contractions (prodrome)?

  • If the contractions intensify and become more regular.
  • They become more and more frequent, painful and regular. They usually last about thirty to seventy seconds, and the intensity increases as labor progresses.
  • The pain from contractions resembles a menstrual cramp, abdominal pressure, or gastrointestinal upset. Pain may be felt in the lower abdomen or back, and in some cases in the legs.


Labor begins with the loss of the mucous plug and is divided into three phases:

  • dilatant phase: from the beginning (about 4 centimeters) to complete dilation. The uterus dilates more or less than one centimeter per hour and the contractions are getting stronger and closer together
  • Expulsive phase: from complete dilation to the baby's exit. There is a strong urge to push but it is important to wait for the midwife to leave to avoid the risk of lacerations to the perineum.
  • Secondamento: the release of the placenta and membranes


A woman is considered to be in active labor when they reach i 3-4 cm of expansion. If the expansion follows its path you can expect the amniotic sac to rupture spontaneously, otherwise the doctor may decide to proceed with a manual rupture of the water (amniorexes).

Once you reach the 8-10 cm of dilation le contractions they are very intense and very close to each other: they follow each other intensely and can last up to ninety seconds.


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Very strange things can happen during labor, here are a few


An epidural is a spinal anesthesia that soothes the pain contractions. The epidural is administered a labor advanced: in order to practice the epidural, the contractions must arrive at intervals of 5 minutes from each other. After the insertion of the catheter for the administration of the drug the parturient is no longer allowed to change position, but she must remain lying down. The epidural it is not guaranteed in all properties and in some hospitals it is not free, so it is advisable to inquire in advance.

Tale of natural childbirth with epidural

On the community of there are many tales of parts, we have chosen one, which happened with an epidural. The little planet has a beautiful and very sweet memory of the birth of her baby and tells us how the birth took place. After a long labor, she is tired from the pain she asks for epidural anesthesia in the hospital and since then the labor has been more bearable. The contractions are strong, but the peak of the pain is stopped by the anesthesia, the mother is able to talk to her husband and exchange jokes with the midwife and the anesthetist and finally the little Filippo is born.

Video story of an induced birth after a high-risk pregnancy

Sabrina, a little planet that follows us, told us hers induced delivery after a high-risk pregnancy and a month in the hospital between crying, nervousness and a lot of fear for the health of her baby.

I am leaving after the deadline 

What to do if the time is up and the child does not decide to come into the world? If the pregnancy continues beyond the expected terms, there are risks for the mother and the baby and the gynecologist may decide to intervene by administering drugs to induce birth. While in some cases of I leave after the deadline if problems arise during labor, an emergency caesarean section may be used.

Natural birth in water

Many hospitals now offer the possibility of giving birth in water. Water makes women feel protected, lightened and relaxed. The child enters a watery environment that he already knows. The woman is asked to dive when labor has begun and three centimeters of dilation have been reached. The warm and soothing temperature of the water allows you to feel less pain during contractions.

The birth tubs are wide enough to allow the woman to move freely and the water must maintain the same temperature throughout the duration of labor and delivery. Finally, a continuous change of water is required.

I'm leaving at home

Being born at home (perhaps in the tub) can reserve intimacy and relaxation for both mother and baby. For a birth to take place at home it is necessary that the pregnancy has come to term without problems, that the baby has a headache, blood pressure is normal and there is no anemia. Furthermore, in cases of pre-maturity, that is, if the onset of childbirth occurs before the 36th week, and of post-maturity, that is, after the term of two weeks, it is recommended to give birth in the hospital. Finally, it is important that the hospital is no more than half an hour away from home.

Tale of a home birth

The midwife tells us about the stages of a birth that took place at home con lotus birth (keep cord and placenta attached to the baby until they come off on their own). A pregnancy that is going well; the strong desire of the mother to give birth at home, facing the sea against the fears of the future father.

Here I start other stories to read, to relive the emotions of the birth of a child. Testimonies of the little planets that read us and describe what it feels like during childbirth.

  • Childbirth story of Lenina with fast dilation
  • Tale of a birth after term
  • Tale of natural birth and then caesarean
  • Tale of a lyrical birth

Natural Childbirth Videos

Here is an exciting video of a natural birth, with all the details.

Images of the moments of natural childbirth

In this gallery many images and photos of natural childbirth, at home or in the water. Happiness mixed with emotion, fear, smiles and lots of tears.

Natural childbirth and pain

The time of delivery is about to arrive and the fear begins to rise. We remember that every experience is absolutely subjective and every woman is different from the others. The very perception of pain has a threshold that presents a wide range of individual variability. In short, the birth it is different for every woman. Abandon any preconceived ideas and accept the idea that yours delivery it will be absolutely unique and there is always a fair amount of imponderable things, which you may not know now.

Here is a game that is proposed in many childbirth preparation courses and is used to understand the degree of pain tolerance and how to manage it better. It's the ice cube game: You have to hold a cube of ice in hand for 60 seconds and then pass it to the partner. The first time you have to hold it in your hand while you are distracted by chatting, the second time while walking back and forth and the third time in complete silence and focusing on the breath. A way to train a manage pain and to assess one's ability to cope with pain.

Another tip is to listen to music in the delivery room to distract yourself, accompany your breath and feel less pain. There are several songs to listen to during labor, but it is important to choose one playlist of many hours with your favorite songs, those that make you sing in the shower or in the car, familiar songs that can help you deal with contractions and the different stages of childbirth. Songs that will then be nice to listen to even in the post-partum phase, when you need calm and relaxation to recover and face a new wonderful journey of life with your little one.

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