A complete guide to Child Birth

By on June 6, 2013

A complete guide to Child Birth


There are a lot of things that come about in the mothers body during childbirth and a complete understanding of the sequence of events is very important. Having a proper understanding of the sequence of events would help in anticipating any problem that could come up during the pregnancy period. The changes that come around in a woman can be divided into the pre-natal, natal as well as the post-natal period. Following is a description of the three stages:

1. Pre-natal period- This is the stage wherein the fertilized ovum develops inside the womb of the mother and there is development and growth of the foetus. There are also changes that come about in the uterus and the cervix of the female in order to prepare these organs for delivery.

2. Natal period- This is the period wherein the child is born and most of the development has taken place in this period. Here the major changes that come about are the dilatation of the cervix, and the initiation of contractions for expulsion of the foetus.

3. Post-natal period- This is the period wherein the uterus is brought back to its normal state. The placenta and the membrane formed during pregnancy are expelled out by means of contractions following the birth of the child.

Before the baby is born the foetus passes the cervical membrane, the cervix itself as well as the uterine cavity and the canal. Whenever labor is initiated or induced then the widening as well as the opening of the cervix takes place. This widening of the cervix is very important as this is what allows the child to be passed out The changes taking place in the cervix go hand in hand with the contractions of the muscular tissues all of which act together to make the cervix softer as well as thinner than it normally is. Water break is commonly seen during the above mentioned events but there are situations in which this may take place at a very late stage of pregnancy.

There are also a large number of physical changes during the end months of pregnancy as the expecting mother would tend to tire out more easily than she would at any other time. The abdomen keeps increasing in size to accommodate for the growth and development taking place inside. The anatomical position of the uterus is also lowered as the baby starts moving towards the birth canal and there is an increase in the frequency of urination during this period.

There are a lot of situations in which the extremities of the mother appear to be swollen and as the baby reaches the final position before delivery there is a rise in the pressure felt in the cervical region. Once an increase in the pressure is seen there is a subsequent rise in the frequency as well as duration of contractions.

The movements of the child also increase during the last few months of pregnancy and in some cases the child may even turn sideways. One needs to be careful regarding the movements and get periodic check-ups done to ensure that any movement does not result in any harm to the foetus.

The labor contractions are usually irregular at the onset and not very painful. As time goes on the contractions become increasingly painful and stronger in intensity. The duration for which the contractions last also increases as the pregnancy reaches a point where the child is to be born. Before the child can pass through the cervix and is born the cervix needs to attain a dilatation of at least 10 centimetres. When the cervix is undergoing the final few centimetres of dilatation then at that point of time the contractions are most intense and the mother would be in the maximum pain. The intensity of all of these events vary from one individual to another and also on factors such as the position of the child as well as the number of children the mother has given birth to earlier.

Once the cervix is completely dilated for the child to pass through the pushing phase is initiated and here the baby is pushed down the canal. At the onset of the contractions these movements are dilating in nature but as time passes these turn into expulsion movements. The baby usually comes out head first through the cervical region and in some instances the buttocks comes out first (Breech baby).

As mentioned earlier the head of the baby is the first part to come out of the cervical region and for this the minimum cervical dilatation is very crucial. When the baby comes out the face is downwards and the shoulders are still inside which are actually at right angles to the head. So for the shoulders to be able to move out the baby needs to be turned a quarter and this movement is usually carried out by a doctor or a nurse. There are also instances where a forceps delivery may need to be done in case the baby appears to be stuck or the dilatation is not sufficient for the child to pass through the birth canal. Once the baby has come out and the heartbeat is not felt in the umbilical cord then it can be easily cut.

This process usually follows the birth of the child and now the placenta and the membranes need to come out so there is contraction of the uterine wall. This contraction leads to peeling away of the placenta from the uterus. The mother is asked to try and push again after the birth of the child so that the placenta is expelled via the cervix and this terminates the labor. Once the placenta and the membrane are expelled the uterine wall goes back how it was before the pregnancy.

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