Usually the pregnancy lasts 280 days, or 40 weeks, however, if the delivery starts at the 37th or 38th week, the doctors do not consider this a deviation from the norm. Why? The fact is that the start time primarily depends on how much mother and baby are ready for the upcoming event.
And this, in turn, depends on a variety of circumstances: the mood and hormonal background of a woman, the increase in biologically active substances in her body and the ability of the uterus to perceive them, the activity of the child and his readiness to be born.
The “X” moment occurs when a woman has contractions every 10–15 minutes, the amniotic fluid continues to leak, bleeding occurs, and the cervix begins to change gradually: shorten, smooth, open. All this doctors call generic activities. Its beginning is preceded by a preparatory period, imperceptible to most expectant mothers.
Usually, at this time, women are disturbed by irregular, painless and short contractions (which, however, can interfere with undisturbed sleep), sometimes mucus plug comes out. However, despite what is happening, the cervix remains closed. After 6–8 hours of “preparatory work”, the contractions can completely stop, and after a while they can occur again.
Although they are usually amplified and go into the first stage of labor.
The first stage of labor is the time of cervical dilatation using regular, equally strong contractions, repeated every 3–5 minutes. Usually, cervical dilatation occurs at a rate of 1–1.5 cm per hour, and until it opens 4 cm, the process is rather slow (5–6.5 hours), and then much faster.
If at the 1st stage of labor a woman experiences 2–3 contractions in 10 minutes, this is considered to be a normal pace. Usually, the uterine contraction itself takes only 30–40 seconds, and the rest of the time is intended for the mother and baby in order to relax and gain strength.
Due to contractions that occur at regular intervals, he descends gradually, adjusting to the size of the birth canal and the bone pelvis of the mother. Careful movement protects the child from injury, in addition, he has the opportunity to prepare for publication.
When the contraction ends and the uterus relaxes, the baby continues to move forward, stretching the cervix with its head.
When the cervix is fully expanded (up to 10–11 cm), the 2nd stage of labor begins – the birth of a child. Usually by this time the baby’s head goes through the bone ring – the entrance to the mother’s basin, after which it starts moving forward much faster. But the most important thing is that at the 2nd stage of labor, attempts are joined to the fights, thanks to which the “enterprise” begun several hours ago is completed.
During the attempts, almost all muscles tense and work, but the main load falls on the abdominals. If the expectation of straining arises from the expectant mother, when the cervix has not fully opened, the midwife advises the woman to breathe more deeply and to save strength for real attempts.
To be effective, you need to push during the fight.
Usually, the second period of labor lasts 30–60 minutes, although it may take 2–3 hours, it all depends on the effectiveness of contractions and attempts, the size of the child, the location of his head, and the size of the mother’s pelvis. The second stage ends with the birth of the baby, his first sigh and cry.
Since the newborn has just experienced a real stress, moving from one habitat to another, it needs support and protection. That is why doctors put a little worker on a warm mother’s belly and apply it to his chest.
The child was born, and his mother will have the third period of birth – the birth of the afterbirth. The uterus decreases sharply in volume, the placenta separates from its wall and, thanks to several almost imperceptible contractions, comes out with fetal membranes and the rest of the umbilical cord.
The 3rd period lasts 5–10 minutes, after which the woman is injected with uterine-reducing substances and an ice pack is placed on the lower abdomen – these measures help to prevent possible bleeding.
The first cesarean section from the beginning to the end usually lasts 30 minutes, and a second operation a little longer – 45−60 minutes. On average, doctors use this intervention in 10–11% of cases, but in some obstetric clinics, where expectant mothers with serious problems are sent, this happens more often – in 25–30%. A future mother can be offered surgery if:
- she is over 30 and the baby is located in the uterus not with the head, but with the ass or legs down (pelvic presentation) or the appearance of a too large child is expected;
- she has obstetric complications (for example, the placenta is attached so that it blocks the baby’s free exit);
- the woman’s bone pelvis was too narrow to “let in” the little one outside;
- she has serious chronic diseases (for example, hypertension, heart defects, a high degree of myopia), which can complicate childbirth;
- it becomes clear that the baby does not feel well (for example, he began to have hypoxia – lack of oxygen).
During the first birth some of the stages may be delayed:
- preparatory contractions phase – from 7 hours;
- 1st period – 12–18 hours versus 6–9 hours for “experienced” mothers;
- 2nd period – 2–3 hours from 30–60 “normative” minutes.
Important: the course and duration of labor also depends on the preparation of the future mother. Midwives say that a woman who has undergone such a course is actually immediately visible. So do not spare the time and effort to visit the school for expectant mothers.
This should be done in the third trimester.