Normal Delivery is the natural process by which every woman gives birth to a newborn. Almost every pregnant woman wishes to have a normal delivery, which doesn’t happen in every case since each pregnancy is unique.
- What is the normal delivery process?
- Is normal delivery painful?
- How long does normal delivery last?
- Should I go for normal delivery or not?
- How Can I have a Normal Delivery
- Easy Tips For Having A Normal Delivery
- Food tips for Normal Delivery
- Antenatal exercises for normal delivery
- Normal Delivery v/s C-section
What is the normal delivery process?
A normal delivery or a normal childbirth involves three basic stages:
#1. The first stage of Normal Delivery
The first stage of normal delivery consists of three phases: Latent, Active and Transition phase
The Latent Phase: In the Latent phase in which the cervix dilates from 0-4 cm. This phase is also called as early phase. It is the initial phase and it can last for up to 6-10 hours for first time pregnancies and can differ for subsequent pregnancies. Here the contractions become frequent and you can begin to experience abdominal discomfort. This is the time you must grab your hospital bag and get admitted to the hospital.
The Active Phase: In the second phase that is, the Active phase the cervix dilates to 4-7 cm. This phase lasts for about 3-6 hours for first-time pregnancies. Here with each contraction, the mother will feel severe pain and pressure in her abdomen and back.
The Transition Phase: In the third phase that is the transition phase the cervix dilates even further. This phase can last between 20 minutes to 2 hours for first time pregnancies. Here the mother will begin to feel fatigue, shivery and nauseous since contractions become more strong, painful and frequent.
#2. The second stage of Normal Delivery
In the second baby of normal delivery the baby is pushed out and delivered.
The second stage begins with a fully dilated cervix and can last for 1 to 2 hours for first time pregnancies. Here the mother will experience severe pain. The baby begins to make its way down through the pelvic region and birth canal.
Your body will begin to transition from dilating to pushing. Ideally, if the baby is in the head down position the baby’s head will come out first through which it becomes easier to push the rest of the body. The doctor then cuts the umbilical cord.
Note: While breech babies (where baby’s legs come out first) can also be delivered through normal delivery – it becomes risky for the child which is why gynecologists favor a C-section.
#3. The Third Stage of Normal Delivery
This is also called as after birth stage. It usually takes few minutes to half an hour. Here the cord is cut and the baby is cleaned. The mother might be asked to push again to expel the placenta. After this, your doctor may place your baby on your breast for skin to skin contact. It is always advisable to initiate breastfeeding within the first half hour of birth.
Is normal delivery painful?
It will be completely wrong to say that normal delivery is not painful because it can be an intensely painful process. The labor time and labor pain you may experience will be completely different of that of others.
Basically, the labor pain is a result of contracting of uterus to push the baby out, resulting in intense pain in abdomen, pelvic belt and vaginal area. Normal delivery may involve an intensely painful process but it is for a short period and helps keeping you healthy for a longer period, unlike a C-section.
Signs that your body is getting ready for labor
The signs that you are ready for labor may vary from one pregnancy to another. But there are some basic signs which you can look out for.
Time for labor is near when the following begin to happen before your due date.
• Cramping and pain in lower back as joints and muscles and stretches.
• Feeling to urinate even more frequently as baby’s head puts pressures on bladder.
• Loosened joints.
• Lack of co-ordination in the body movements.
• You may experience the baby turning or moving to the head down position between 30 and 34 weeks.
Signs of labor pain which will occur few hours before delivery
• More frequent and stronger contractions – gradually increases with time.
• Vaginal discharge increases and becomes thicker in consistency.
• Cramping and pain in lower back
• Your pelvic pressure will increase.
• You will feel to pee more often.
• May experience lower belly cramps.
How long does normal delivery last?
The normal delivery process can take up to 12-14 hours. The intensity and length of the delivery process can differ based on the below mention factors:
#1. Number of deliveries a woman has had
If it is the first delivery, the process might take a longer amount of time. If you are having your second or third child it may take less time since the cervix tends to dilate more quickly.
#2. Strength and intensity of pains and contractions
Strength and intensity may differ for different body types.
#3. Calm and stress-free mind
The state of mind of the mother helps a lot in the ease of delivery process. It is advisable to practice some breathing techniques during the antenatal period so that you can calm yourself when labor begins.
#4. Baby’s Position
If the baby is in a head-down position the delivery process may take less time and the possibility of labor being shorter also increases.
Should I go for normal delivery or not?
Statistics reveal that many women as well doctors are opting for suggest C-section delivery over a normal delivery. Child Birth is a natural process and women’s bodies are designed for it. Unless there is a medical condition one should always prefer for normal delivery.
A normal delivery results in quick recovery and is also beneficial for the mother.
The natural labor process enables a woman to connect to her child’s birth more closely. Breastfeeding is also easily facilitated after a natural birth. This in turn is highly beneficial for the healthy life of both mother as well as child. You should always prefer normal delivery over C-section Delivery.
How Can I have a Normal Delivery
There are certain factors which can improve your chances of having a normal delivery.
• Stay calm, stress free, and sleep well.
• Practice breathing and relaxation techniques.
• Educate yourself about the normal delivery process
• Choose your labour support and birth training partner carefully.
• Stay active and prepare your mind and body for normal delivery.
• Hire an experienced doctor.
• Avoid having an epidural for pain relief because it may result in longer pushing stage.
• Try to avoid induction because induction of Labor tends to more interventions and lowers the chances of normal delivery.
• Plan to give birth at a child friendly birth centre
• Practice perineal massage.
Easy Tips For Having A Normal Delivery
Giving birth to a baby through a normal vaginal delivery is the best way for both a child as well as for mother. Considering our changing lifestyle and increasing number of fertility problems, having a normal delivery has become little difficult. So to increase your chances, you can follow the below mentioned tips for normal delivery.
#1. Stay Hydrated
Stay hydrated by taking a shower or soaking in the bath tub – whichever comforts you more. Spend as much time in water – but make sure that it is not chlorinated like most public swimming pools are. Drink lots of healthy drinks and fluids along with plenty of water.
#2. Practice Prenatal Education or Garbh Sanskar
Breathe, relax, meditate, listen to music or get a massage done. You can also try prenatal yoga which helps in increasing flexibility of your body and also helps in breathing control. Consult your doctor or join some prenatal classes to enhance your knowledge about the process of a child’s birth.
Gaining such knowledge will help you to shed down all your fears about childbirth and have safe and easy delivery with clear mindset. Garbh Sanskar is the an ancient Indian prenatal and pregnancy parenting science. Garbh Sanakar’s aim is to help couples give birth to a beautiful, vigorous and intelligent child. It is a way of teaching and bonding with unborn baby in womb during pregnancy.
#3. Don’t gain excess weight
Maintain a healthy body weight during the entire pregnancy as it will help you to give birth to a healthy baby. Labor tends to be smoother for women who are not overweight. If you maintain a healthy weight throughout your pregnancy then there will low chances of complications and other medical issues.
#4. Follow a healthy pregnancy diet
You should have nutritious diet which includes food that are rich in Vitamins, calcium and protein in it. Drink lots of water and fresh green vegetables and fruits. A well nourished and healthy mother is more comfortable in facing labor pain and delivering a baby normally.
#5. Stay stress-free with regular exercises
Try to maintain a stress-free routine with regular mild exercises and by staying active. Regular exercising will increase your body’s stamina and strengthen your pelvic muscles. You should do the exercise under someone who has experience with prenatal yoga or antenatal exercising.
Leave behind your worries related to your professional life and try to have a good and sound sleep always. Read good books during pregnancy about parenting or enjoy the company of your friends. Maternal stress can adversely affect the baby’s as well as your health – to stay away from anything which doesn’t make you smile.
#6. Get a support group
If any of your friends have had a normal delivery in the past, try to know their experience. Share your anxiety and problems with them. There are many Facebook groups where moms discuss their experience and support each other. Join these groups as they will later will you with breastfeeding support as well.
#7. Pick a supportive healthcare provider
You should also choose your gynecologist wisely. Sadly many doctors in India are now getting the reputation of being scissor happy and opting for C-section because of convenience and money. Choose a child-friendly hospital so that you know you are getting the best care possible.
Food tips for Normal Delivery
A healthy mother will deliver a healthy baby. During pregnancy the nutritional requirement of the mother’s body increases so, it is important to watch your diet and eat homemade and nutritious food.
• Iron is very essential for pregnant women, so have iron foods like spinach.
• Green leafy vegetables and fruits should be an important part of your pregnancy diet.
• Increase the intake of calcium – especially dairy products and millets like ragi.
• Reduce intake of sugar as much as possible.
• Include Bromelain rich foods in your diet. It is an enzyme that reduces Labor pain and softens the cervix part. Fruits such as mango and pineapple are rich in Bromelain should be consumed during later of pregnancy but not in excess.
• Avoid alcohol and junk food as far as possible.
• Have meals at the proper time and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Antenatal exercises for normal delivery
Doing exercises during pregnancy can help a lot in the proper birthing position of a child and also increases the chances of a normal delivery. The exercises should be done under the guidance of an instructor who is well versed with pregnancy yoga and antenatal excising.
- Pelvic stretch exercises- Doing pelvic stretching exercise during pregnancy helps to minimize the labor pain.
- Swimming- Swimming is said to be one of best exercises for recreation. It helps to boosts the strength of your muscles and also for overall fitness. During pregnancy, you can go for swimming but try to avoid pools that have chlorinated water as it is harmful to babies.
- Squatting – Squatting has an important role to play in pregnancy. Didn’t your mother ask you to squat and mop the floor? This is because squats are known to ease labor pain by loosening the pelvic muscles.
- Walking- One of the easiest exercise during pregnancy is to go for regular walk. Walking not only releases your stress but also helps in increasing blood circulation.
- Prenatal Yoga- Yoga has always been beneficial for various health related problems. Practicing the breathing exercises taught in Yoga can help you cope with labor better. Prenatal Yoga helps to open up your hips for easier birthing and reduces abdomen pain.
Normal Delivery v/s C-section
C-section helps to save the lives of both mother and child when medically intervention is required. However, now even many pregnant women having low risk pregnancies are also opting for C-section delivery. C-section has gained popularity over natural childbirth in recent years with 1 in every 3 child is born via C-section.
There are few advantages of C-section delivery such as
- No labor pain – One of the benefits of C-section is that there is no labor pain. Today, many women get tensed thinking about the intense labor pain and begin to fear childbirth.
- Convenient- The biggest advantage of C-section is its convenience – for both doctors and patients.
- Baby is safe- The baby is completely safe in case of C-section as the baby can be easily removed from the mother’s womb. Whereas during a normal delivery the chances of umbilical cord getting caught around baby’s neck or the mother not pushing hard enough – are all very real and scary scenarios.
- No injuries to the vagina – One of the biggest fears of pregnant women are the vaginal tear. In some cases, the vaginal tear is so severe that it requires stitches. Some women also fear that the loosening of their vagina to birth the baby will reduce their sexual pleasure later on in life.
- Risk of death is low – Since there are no chances of Labor pain in case of C-section, the risk of death is low.
Some disadvantages of C-section
- C-section recovery takes time – Though normal delivery involves intense labor pain the pain minimizes soon after the delivery. The recovery after a C-section takes longer as the stitches take time to heal and back pain can continue for 3 to 6 months.
- Decreases the chances of normal delivery in future – If a woman has a normal delivery during her first pregnancy it is likely that she might have normal delivery in future as well. In case of a C-section the chances of future normal deliveries gets reduced. VACS delivery or Vaginal After C-section is something very few gynecologists in India practice
- C-section is expensive- As compared to the normal delivery the treatment of C-section delivery is expensive.