Just as pregnancy is something that is so different for each woman, the experience of labor and childbirth will also be different for all. You are bound to hear a multitude of stories, advises and tips and be rather overwhelmed as to what to make of it all. Add to that the hormonal shifts taking you on a whirlwind of a ride till the D-day. But with a little planning and some trusting of that motherly gut feel that should set in along with the nesting instinct, you will surely find your footing and come through in flying colors!
Though it is wise to not have any expectations about it all, a basic birth plan that you could draw up will be the best help to ease some of that anxiety. When you have a birth plan ahead of time it will give you the freedom to entirely be ready to welcome the new baby into the world.
The birth plan can include your likes and preferences for how you need the delivery to be and who you want to be with you during labor, or if you would want medications to ease pain and any other details that you need to make the labor and delivery comfortable. The birth plan can also include any known medical conditions for either you or your baby, including positive group B strep results, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia just in case there is a change in the doctor.
In preparation for the childbirth, it is important that you know the signs to look out for with regard to the onset of labor. The body will start to send some signals when it is preparing for the labor and the birth. Some common signs could be baby “dropping,” which is the baby moving down in the uterus to prepare for birth a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins. The water breaking when the amniotic sac ruptures. There may also be some vaginal discharge with little blood and contractions that may happen 30 to 5 minutes apart.
Sometimes there could also be false alarms like the Braxton Hicks Contractions but consult a doctor if it is accompanied by intense abdominal pain, bleeding, pain in pelvic area or if there are more than 4 contractions in an hour. Once you arrive at the hospital the birthing team will keep monitoring contractions, how the labor is progressing, the rate of dilation and baby’s heartbeats.
Labor can progress in three stages, the early labor, the active labor and the transition. The longest stage of labor is the early labor an it can go on for 12 to 24 hours with the cervix dilation at 6 centimeters or so. The contractions in the active labor can last up to 60 to 90 seconds and are approximately 2 to 5 minutes apart. In the transition stage these can last 60 to 120 seconds and are usually 2 to 3 minutes apart and the cervix dilates from 8 to 10 centimeters. This is the shortest stage of labor so all you need to do now is get ready mentally and physically to meet your baby.
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