Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and anxious phase in a woman’s life. There is definitely an information overload from all sources i.e. family, friends, medical team, books, Internet, etc., that is dumped on the mother-to-be. The idea is to prepare her for the delivery. What needs to be borne in mind though is that each delivery is unique and there are no two women who have had the exact same experience.
However, it is good for the mother to know what to expect so that she is mentally prepared and not totally caught unawares when the actual scenes unfold. The following are the sequence of events that she should be aware of and watch out for:
- With the due date nearing, she should keep a watch for the water breaking. This is passing of fluid surrounding the baby and is usually colorless and odorless. However, if it is green or brown, it is an indication that something might be wrong. Immediate medical help should be sought in that case.
- Along with water breaking, contractions is the next thing to watch out for. This is due to the tightening and releasing of the uterus, indicating that the baby has begun to descend down towards the cervix. If these last for up to a minute, occur every five minutes, and persist for up to an hour, it is a clear indication that it is delivery time and you must head to the hospital.
- Two sensations very prominent during delivery are pain and pressure. The pressure is from the baby passing down the birth canal. As the cervix and the vaginal canal expand to allow passage of the baby, there would be a great deal of pain and pressure. It is not just the mother, even the baby exerts significant pressure to come out of the womb during labor.
- The process of the baby getting out of the womb is what is medically termed as labor and has three distinct stages to it:
- The first stage has two parts to it i.e. an initial, gradual phase that may last for a few hours and a later, quicker phase. The rate of progress of delivery is steady.
- The second stage usually lasts for about two hours, during which the cervix is minimally dilated and pushing begins. This stage lasts until the baby is out of the womb.
- The third and the last stage is where the placenta is extracted and the umbilical cord is cut.
Some common problems you may expect include injury or tearing of the vagina or cervix, need for episiotomy, vomiting, passing of motion, anesthetic complications, etc. However, what would remain etched in the mother’s memory would be the first sight of the baby. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.