Second stage of labour
This is the more active phase of labour when you will be actually delivering your baby. The cervix has dilated completely and it may be at this time when your water breaks.
If it doesn't happen naturally, your gynaecologist may artificially rupture it. This stage can last for as little as 10 minutes for someone who has previously had a vaginal birth to two to three hours for a first time mom. There may be a burning or stretching sensation as the baby moves through the vagina.
The actual action of pushing should usually be started when you get a natural urge and the uterus has done its work of moving the baby. But some doctors may suggest pushing with each contraction so as to hasten the process.
Listen to your doctor's instruction carefully and follow it to utilise your complete energy and deliver the baby without any problem. Most women find the semi-sitting or squatting position most comfortable as gravity helps to deliver the baby.
The stage is over when the baby has been born and the doctor has cut the umbilical chord. You can relish in the sight of your newborn for the very first time.
Third stage of labour
Once the baby is delivered, the uterus shrinks in size and the placenta, which provided your baby's nourishment for the last nine months, separates from the uterine wall. Though you may be too exhausted at this point, it is necessary to deliver the placenta, which is also known as the afterbirth. This stage can last anywhere from five minutes to a half hour.
To deliver the placenta, just one mild push may be all that's needed. Once this is done, your uterus will contract more and become very firm. It is important to cut off the open blood vessels at the places where the placenta was attached; if this is not done it can lead to profuse bleeding.
Learn more about your options for pain relief during labor and find out how to best manage your pain during the worst part of labor.
Also learn more about medicines available for relieving the pain of childbirth like a pudendal block and find out about alternative pain management options like using a TENs machine. In addition read about the benefits of birthing naturally and discover how using a doula can help.
What to Expect After
After birth, the doctor usually checks the pulse, blood pressure, and uterus contraction of the mother to ensure everything is fine.
The baby may be given a dose of Vitamin K and will have an APGAR test done. Keep in contact with your doctor on a regular basis to understand what all you can or cannot do just after the delivery.
Following delivery, you may feel pain, like menstrual cramps, for a few hours or days. If you are breastfeeding, your uterus will tighten even more thanks to the oxytocin that is released during breastfeeding in the first few days.
If you've had an episiotomy, where your doctor makes a small cut on the vagina to help widen the opening and make delivering your baby easier, it will be necessary to stitch the cut.
Every mother has an inborn strength to deliver and nurture a child. Use it and enjoy this novel experience.
Also learn more about how to prepare for labor by creating a birth plan. Discover your birthing options and create a birth checklist. Also hear from moms on how best to pack your hospital bag and find out about some of the surprises of delivery that no one tells you about.
In addition, find out more about what to do if you go into preterm labor, if you need to induce labor, if your baby presents breech and what does it mean for you and your baby if you need a c-section. Get all of your answers now.
For more information on your labor and delivery check out our pregnancy videos.