Labor process, from start to finish
As the time for approaches, the mother becomes more and more uneasy as she thinks about what that time will be like. Although each delivery is different, from a medical point of view, everyone must go through 3 phases. Knowing what the time of delivery will be like may help you face it with more serenity.
The phases of childbirth, according to specialist doctors.
● Dilatation. This corresponds to the start of labor contractions, dilation of the cervix and the descent of the baby’s head through the birth canal.
● Expulsion. This is the final part of labor, when the baby comes down and
ends up coming out of the breast.
● Delivery. This corresponds to the exit of the placenta.
Surely you have heard that some women take days to give birth, do not panic! In reality, there is a phase prior to the labor process, technically known as the “latent phase” or “prodrome of labor”, in which some women begin to feel some type of discomfort or not strong contractions, but in which labor strictly not started yet.
This first part of labor goes from its onset to full dilation of the cervix. To determine that you are in the process of dilation, doctors assure that you must go through:
1- There must be consecutive contractions, at least 2 every 10 minutes.
2- The neck of the uterus or cervix must be dilated, usually 3 cm or more.
3- The cervix must be shortened, at least 50% of its length.
Dilation is the longest part of labor, it can last from 8 to 12 hours or even longer, which is why they say that some women last days. It is not of great importance, as long as the baby and the mother are well. As time goes by, the contractions end up being more followed and stronger, at the same time, the baby’s head lowers to enter the pelvis and begins to descend towards the vulva. The baby must cross the mother’s pelvis, which forms an irregular channel a few centimeters long, this descent is slow and therefore takes a few hours to cross.
This is when the dilation process is complete and the baby finally comes out. During this process, the mother will notice a need to push. The mother’s push is very important at this time to help the baby out. It is important that the baby’s head comes out slowly to avoid sudden decompression and protect the mother’s perineum (space between the anus and the mother’s vagina). When the head comes out, the baby’s shoulders follow and it is done with the same care, leaving this part, the rest of the baby’s body will come out without any problem.
In medical parlance, this refers to the delivery of the placenta. Labor is not over until the placenta and ovular membranes emerge. Once the uterus is empty, signals are set in motion that cause the placenta to detach and expel. It is a delicate process because the placenta receives a lot of blood, therefore, immediately after detaching, the mother has a great uterine contraction.
And finally … your baby! It’s finally in your arms! They probably clean him and prepare him with clothes so that they can take him back to your side to start breastfeeding. After all this, you deserve a break and the biggest reward is your baby. Enjoy it.