What is a Normal Delivery?
Giving birth to a child is one of the beautiful experiences during their lifetime. It will be forever engraved in your memory. This is completely a natural way of delivering a baby by the expectant mother without any help of medicines and invasive methods. The objective of normal delivery must be understood by the expectant mother along with the family before opting for one. In a normal delivery, the psychological and physical health of the expectant mother is maintained. The process of normal delivery or labor begins around thirty-seven to forty-two weeks of the pregnancy.
When is normal childbirth recommended?
Normal delivery is always recommended for healthy and young women. They can comfortably go through this procedure. The indications of a normal delivery are normal blood pressure, the position of the fetus, and an active lifestyle. Here is a list of when normal delivery is recommended:
- When there will be an excessive urge to urinate due to the pressure coming out from the head of the baby as it presses the pelvic region and squeeze the bladder
- The fetus changes its position between week thirty to thirty-four to a head-down or cephalic position which indicated that it is ready for delivery. When ultrasound is done, it indicates that the position of the baby has already moved down.
- Vaginal discharge will increase and is expected to be pink or white in color and sometimes a bit stained with blood as well. These are the signs of a normal and healthy pregnancy.
- The breasts will sore which is also an indication of normal childbirth. The breasts will feel uncomfortable and heavy when you will be in the final stage.
- The fetus starts to put pressure on the lower back thus causing pain in the lower back area. The fetus is actually positioning itself so that it can get a head-down position or cephalic position.
- Expectant mothers might experience some discomfort and cramps due to the upset bowel movement. This is due to increased hormonal activity.
- Sometimes the breaking of the water bag happens before the labor begins. At that time, normal delivery is advised. This breaking of the water bag is expected to take place during the time of labor.
Stages of normal vaginal delivery
Normal delivery consists of four stages.
1) First stage-
Effacement and dilation of the cervix take place in this stage. The cervix is thinned by the contraction and it begins to open. This is known as effacement and dilation. As soon as dilation of the cervix takes place the opening will be measured by the doctors in centimeters
During the first stage, the widening of the cervix will be about 10 centimeters. This widening stays for about twelve to thirteen hours in the case of the first baby and seven to eight hours in the case of the second baby.
There are also three sub-stages of the first stage of normal delivery. Here is are the sub-stages:
- Early labor– The widening of the cervix is early labor is around four centimeters. Most of the days during the early labor will be spent at the home. You will be advised to continue your sexual activities. Doctors will suggest you to rest, relax, eat light meals, drink clear fluids, and keep a record of the contractions.
Sometimes contractions go away with the change in activities but with the passing time contractions get stronger. When you can clearly distinguish between how strong, how long, and how frequent the contractions are and when you will not be able to talk during the time of contractions, expect yourself to be moving towards active labor.
- Active labor– In this stage, the cervix opens from four centimeters to seven centimeters. This is the time you should visit the hospital. You will understand your cervix to open faster when you will experience contractions every three to four minutes and when these contractions last for about sixty seconds.
As there is a progression in labor, the water bag eventually breaks causing the spread of lots of fluid. Contractions also speed up when the bag of water breaks. Easy breathing is helpful during this time. Doctors also suggest focusing on relaxing and positive music or images as they prove to be helpful.
You can also opt to change your current positions, cold or hot compresses, massage, walk, sit upright, or stand to progress your labor. Energy-saving happens by relaxing in between and during contractions. This also helps to open the cervix. Soaking tubs or whirlpools are used by many hospitals to make patients feel relaxed and prevent discomfort.
In this stage, the cervix opens from seven centimeters to ten centimeters. This is one of the painful and hardest parts a woman faces during labor. This is the stage when the cervix opens to the fullest. The timing of the contractions is sixty to ninety seconds and it repeats every two to three minutes.
The strength of the contractions will make you feel overwhelmed and you will get very little time to take rest. Sometimes you may feel irritated, tired, frustrated, shaky, sick to the stomach, sweaty, and cold as well.
Slow breathing will help you in this stage but sometimes uneven patterns of breathing may also help you.
2) Second stage-
The baby usually comes down through the birth canal. This is the stage where the cervix is open completely and ends when the baby’s birth takes place. The baby comes down due to contractions and intense pressure that is similar to any bowel movement.
Doctors might ask you to push with the contractions. You will get the time to rest by the contractions. Most of the women have a feeling of irritation and want to be alone at this time. This stage continues until and unless the baby comes out.
3) Third stage-
This is the stage of afterbirth. The baby takes birth and the contraction of the uterus continues unless and until the placenta pushes out. It takes five to fifteen minutes for a placenta to come out after the arrival of the baby.
4) Fourth stage-
This is the recovery stage. The mother and the partner will have a feeling of fatigue, joy, and relief when the baby takes birth and there is also the delivery of the placenta. Most babies need nursing within a short time interval after birth, while others might take some more time. If a mother wants to breastfeed, doctors strongly recommend that too.
The uterus will contract as soon as the new mother starts to nurse the newborn baby. The amount of bleeding will also start to decrease when nursing starts.
Benefits of vaginal delivery
The natural process of labor is followed in the case of giving birth to a child through normal delivery. There are many reasons why this process of birthing is much better than any other method. Some of the reasons are:
- Healthier for the baby and the mother
The first bond between the mother and the child starts with the first few minutes when they are together. The bond of the infant with the outer world also starts from that time.
The comfort that the child receives from the mother’s voice and arm makes the child reassured of the safety. With the process of natural birth, the child is placed in the arms of the mother and bonding starts from then onwards.
- Lactation is stimulated
Natural hormones stimulate during the time of labor and birth by the natural process of birthing. Endorphins, oxytocin, adrenaline, prolactin, and noradrenaline secretion happens during this time. Prolactin is the mothering hormone.
- Protective bacteria is ingested from the birth canal
The vaginal microbes change during pregnancy. The bacteria ingested by the child from the birth canal of the mother helps in building the immune system. This also makes the child digest solid foods and milk better.
The human microbiota is during the process of birth. It makes the function of the vaginal microbiome a vital role in the process of development.
- Postnatal recovery is faster
This process of birthing helps the mother to recover much faster. There is no involvement of medical intervention. The body plays its part and takes adequate time to bring it back to track.
In the case of other techniques, there are higher chances of infections. Unnatural interventions in the body take much time to repair. Normal delivery prevents the body from surgery, therefore the risks that come with the use of a knife can also have prevention.
- Makes one confident
The mother has a feeling of great achievement and confidence after giving birth naturally. This feeling cannot have a comparison with any other thing.
- Hospital stay is shorter
The stay in the hospital in the case of normal delivery is much shorter when compared to other techniques. It can last from twenty-four hours to forty-eight hours.
Symptoms of normal delivery
There are many symptoms of a normal delivery. Some of the symptoms are:
- Dropping of the baby
- Desire to urinate
- Lower backache
- Vaginal discharge increased
- The thin cervix
- Dilate Cervix
- Water bag breaks
- Sore breasts
Risks of normal vaginal delivery
It is very obvious that you are going to experience pain during the time of delivery even if the delivery is not for the first time. Even if you have experience of delivering a baby before, still you will not be able to have an idea of how bad the pain can be during labor or how you will cope up with the pain.
Every delivery has some of the other risks, despite using medications. Some of the risks include problems with the umbilical cord or heavy loss of blood. These problems are very difficult to detect, and once their detection is successful, they need the intervention of medications.
Is natural birth painful?
Yes, childbirth is painful. If you want a normal delivery and if circumstances permit you to go for it, you will be able to feel each and every type of sensation. Normal delivery is a kind of delivery that is without any pain medication. The two sensations experienced during natural birth is pressure and pain.
When the time will come for you to push, you will get relief from some pressure. When the baby enters the birth canal, during the contractions you will experience constant and increasing pressure. The feeling of immediate bowel movement will be felt as the baby comes down and presses on a few nerves.
If doctors perform an epidural, the feeling you will experience will be highly dependent on the effectiveness of the block of the epidural. If the nerves are dead by medications, you will not be able to feel anything. In case the nerves are effective moderately, you will be able to feel some pressure.
The postpartum care after normal delivery
After a woman has a normal delivery, she can expect postpartum bleeding for the next six weeks. The bleeding will be similar to a heavy period. It consists of tissue, leftover blood from the uterus, and also mucus. First ten days the bleeding will be maximum, then slowly it will decrease and the color will change from red to pink as well and slowly to brown to yellowish-white.
Some of the tips are:
- The perineum will heal better by applying ice frequently for the first twenty-four hours of the birth of the infant. Application of warm water must to the area after and before urination to clean the area properly so that there is no feeling of irritation because of urine.
- A warm sitz bath is a good option to ease the pain. Avoid sitting, sleeping, or standing for a long time.
- Take acetaminophen to ease pains and aches. A heating pad and hot showers can help to prevent achiness. You may also opt for a good massage.
- It may take some time for the first postpartum bowel movement. Do not force and stay regular. Go for walks, eat lots of food rich in fiber such as fruits, whole grains, veggies, avoid straining, gentle stool softeners are a must.
- Postpartum Kegel exercises are a must. Start the exercises as soon as possible. It may help you to get the vagina in shape and enable you to make sex with your partner more enjoyable. The Kegel exercise also helps to solve the urinary incontinence postpartum.
- Your breasts must have a kind treatment. Ice packs, gentle massage, or warm compress are good food achy breasts. A nursing bra is always good for achy breasts. Crack nipples must also have the treatment by applying lanolin cream.
- Do not miss your doctor’s appointment. Your doctor will help you to heal from everything. If required your doctor will also help to adjust emotionally.
- Constipation and fatigue can get prevention by eating well. Five smaller meals a day is perfect. A combination of protein and carbs along with fiber is a must.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Your checklist for postpartum recovery are:
- Maxi pads
- Witch hazel pads
- Ice packs
- Squirt or peri bottle
- Sitz bath
- Nursing pads
- Cotton underpants
- Heating pad
- Nursing bras
- Stool softener
- Lidocaine spray
- Postpartum recovery belt
The recovery period after normal delivery
The recovery period postpartum is the first six weeks. Your body is full of stress and stretch to the maximum and it needs a time to regroup once again. Every new mother is different and their recovery period varies with varied postpartum symptoms as well.
The majority of the postpartum symptoms resolve within a week but some may take weeks to get perfect, such as backaches, nipples, and perineal pain. Some issues such as back pain and leaky breasts might continue for a longer period.
The recovery period can anywhere be from three weeks to six weeks depending upon the episiotomy or perineal tear. The vagina of a woman who has given birth through normal vaginal delivery is likely to be close to the older vagina but not exactly the same as before.
When and how to push a baby out?
You are just about to finish the procedure when the baby is out. But going to that step might take some time. It also needs a bit of pushing carefully in case of normal vaginal delivery.
When the dilation of the cervix is complete, the time has come for you to help your baby come out by pushing carefully. This may take thirty minutes to one hour time in total. But the timing may vary from one case to the other.
Here are some tips for pushing;
- You must push just the way you do in bowel movements
- Your chin must tuck to your chest
- Give your maximum effort
- Do not lose focus
- Change your position
- Have trust in your instincts
- Take some rest between the contractions
- Stop pushing when instructed
- Keep your eyes on the mirror
How long does a normal delivery last?
Normal delivery may last for thirty minutes to a maximum of one hour. It may also take a couple of minutes to complete the process. The timing varies depending upon the cases.
Cost of normal delivery
The cost of a normal delivery may range between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000. Normal vaginal delivery along with epidural may cost n between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000.
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Dr. Jay Mehta
Fertility and IVF Specialist
Dr. Jay Mehta is the Scientific Director of Shree IVF Clinic. He is a well-known Fertility and IVF Specialist and also among few doctors in the country who specializes in Embryology and Andrology.