Seema had a perfectly uneventful normal delivery at our facility last week. A primigravida ( woman pregnant for the first time ) taking regular pregnancy care , post dated ( crossed 40 weeks ) by 3 days delivered naturally a healthy baby girl who had two loops of the cord around her neck. After the entire process, she thanked me and said “ oh God madam, I didn’t know anything of this “ I was surprised !! I had taken her through two extensive sessions of counselling as to what she has to expect in the delivery room. But she just did not register I guess.
The events that a woman experiences while birthing are novel and different and they forget what is informed. But what she said after this was definitely heartening. She said “ I only understood the fact that I must be fearless and just follow your instructions madam “ this little dialogue inspired me to write this blog about normal delivery .
Many women are scared of the process of a normal delivery . the fears are many fold : 1. unknown fear 2. fear of pain .3 fear of complications 4. fear that she may not be able to sustain the process .All these are hugely driven by lack of proper knowledge , lack of self confidence and the hearsay horror stories shared by friends or family .
‘Tocophobia’ is the fear of contraction ( tightening of the womb during labour ) and is on the rise. Many women harbour this fear and feel unsure about their ability to bear the pain and to go through the process of labour. This fear further gets compounded by the information available easily through the media. This info is sometimes helpful but sometimes quite confusing and induces fear, especially when some wrong experiences are expressed in a distorted manner.
Delivering a baby is a natural process needing time necessary for the mother’s body to adjust and accommodate to ensure the baby to be brought out in this world. These timelines vary from person to person but normality is determined by averages and various monitoring mechanisms help in ensuring safety. visit:
https://drgirijawagh.com/stages-of-delivery/ to know about stages of labour or delivery.
When does a woman go into labour?
The entire duration of pregnancy is 40 weeks and at 37 weeks the baby is mature to be on its own and deliver. The expected date of delivery is observed only by approximately 20-30 % of the women. Most deliver earlier and a few can cross over and become post-dated. After 37 weeks, one can expect to go into labor anytime. Delivery before the completion of 37 weeks is called as preterm delivery and the baby may need NICU care.
How do I know that I am In labour ?
Many signs suggest the onset of labour. Tightening or hardening of the womb (which is painful) is called as a uterine contraction. If it occurs every half an hour or so and lasts for more than 15-20 seconds, it’s a uterine contraction. You may experience a thick sticky vaginal discharge which may be mucoid (sticky) or bloodstained. Remember to report to the facility if you have excruciating pain or water break which can simulate the passage of urine. It’s better to be sure and not too late.
How can I contact my facility ?
You should keep all the emergency contact numbers of your near and dear ones and the facility, handy, so that a call may be placed. Some facilities also provide ambulance transfers which you can find out or identify an emergency transfer system. Also, don’t worry if you have been normal all this while, everything will be normal. The beginning of delivery pains can just be the start. It takes a while for a woman to actually deliver, so do not worry. It is important that you are calm and composed to ensure a normal and stress-free delivery of your baby.
What preparation should I do before going to the facility when in labour ?
Call your doctor or the emergency numbers and inform them that you are expected and your condition as you perceive. Take your delivery list with you as mentioned at : http://www.drgirijawagh.com/preparing-for-delivery-checklist/. Also, do not stuff yourself with food or drinks. You can carry it with you and only take it when the doctor has assessed you and has agreed to you having it. In case of an emergency, full stomach may not be always safe for you. Most importantly, do not panic. All is gonna be well !
What is done when I reach the facility ?
A quick confirmation of your already captured history is done. If there are any specific issues such as allergies, any medications share with your doctor. Many times in the triage you will be assessed by the first contact medical personnel such as the nurse, duty doctor, medical officer or a junior consultant. Once they assess you they will inform your consultant. Share all the necessary information with them so that there is no delay in the care given to you.
A quick assessment of your condition, confirmation of labour, stage of labour, baby’s condition is done and necessary primary preparations done. Most facilities send the blood sample for a reservation if needed and secure intravenous access. Do not panic. These are for your safety. Depending on the time of the day a simple enema may be given to clean your bowels. You will be given a change of clothes and your personal parts may be prepared for the imminent delivery and you will be hospitalised.
How will I be looked after ?
Based on the stage of labour you will be admitted to an observation room which can be your own hospital room or bed or a pre-delivery area. Your vitals will be checked periodically, baby heart will be assessed. Based on your findings ambulation may or may not be advised. You may be encouraged for some exercises and pain alleviating medications may be administered. Some medicines to increase uterine contractions, increase the opening of the womb ( cervical dilatation), sometimes antibiotics or other medications may be administered. If in active labour or in the second stage when you will be expected to deliver shortly you will be taken into the delivery room where proper positions and instrumentations can be used to aid delivery. Internal examinations are done periodically to assess the progress of labour.
Will I have pain ? Will I be able to tolerate it ?
Yes, pain is going to be there but it definitely is bearable. A right attitude definitely helps. You can dissociate your mind from it for a while and breathe deeply during the pain-free intervals. Some medications can help reduce the pain and the doctor will use them depending on the need. You can also opt for painless delivery and this facility is usually present in most of the birthing centres. We will read more about it in the later blogs.
Remember labour is the natural conclusion of the pregnancy and results in delivering your baby. You must learn to be fearless, think positively and trust your own body and your doctor. Much can be achieved by this. I wish all of you there a very healthy and a wonderful experience in Labour.
Keep watching this space for more info :
1. Induction of labour
2. What if I bleed,
3. Stages of labour,
4. Painless labour
5. Water break ? What is that ? .