Natural birth is a tough work which can involve a great deal of pain although each birth is a unique experience. It is typically divided into three stages – early labor, active labor and the transitional phase. Each of the stages is marked by unique experiences which are worth to remember, especially if you plan a natural birth.
During early labor which can last several hours to a couple of days, you will experience mild to moderate contractions at regular intervals from 5 to 20 minutes apart and lasting about one minute. This is the time to go to the hospital. Hospital admission procedure varies greatly from one hospital to another but after arriving there, you will be first asked to answer few questions such as are you having contractions at regular intervals, their length and time in between contractions, did your water break and when if it did, are you bleeding, do you have any medical problems, etc.
Then you will be brought into an exam room where you will be examined by a midwife or a doctor. He or she will take your temperature, pulse and blood pressure, monitor the contractions and your baby’s pulse, make an abdominal and pelvic exam to determine the position of your baby, check for the opening of your cervix and if you are leaking amniotic fluid. Meanwhile you may be asked some additional questions about your medical and pregnancy history, medications you take, existing medical conditions, etc. If the labor is not far off, you will be admitted to the hospital.
After being admitted to the hospital, you will brought to your room and asked to change your clothes or led directly to the delivery room if you are about to give birth. However, if you are a first-time mom, you probably have hours or even days until the second phase of labor. Take advantage of the time to bring up your birth plan and other specific requests you may have. You will be periodically checked by the nurses or a doctor who will explain to you what they are doing and why. If you have any questions, however, do not be afraid to ask.
The pain and discomfort will intensify during the active labor, while the contractions will get closer and closer together. Keep in mind that you can still change your mind about natural birth if the pain is unbearable and do not feel bad if you ask for pain medications because many women do when they enter active labor. Now you will be brought to the delivery room and encouraged to push by your health care team.
Your job is not over when your baby is finally born. You will have a few moments to hold your baby before you will be asked to do some more pushing to expel the placenta (the transition phase). Your doctor will then examine the placenta to make sure that it is has been delivered intact because any fragments left inside the uterus can cause an infection. Finally, your doctor will determine if you need to be stitched but relax because you will receive a local anesthetic before the stitching.
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