A fetus is at term between 36 – 39 weeks age of gestation. An uncomplicated vaginal delivery within this period is referred to as normal deliveries. According to recent statistics, only 66% of babies are born term. The other 44% are born either preterm or posterm.
Is it False or True Labor?
Labor precedes delivery. Usually, false labor is experienced first. Normally, as labor progresses, you cervix opens up and become thinner. This allows the baby to gradually go down the birth canal. False labor has no effect in your cervix. Contractions are irregular, and walking relieves these contractions. When a woman is in false labor, there is no reason to go to the hospital yet. True labor increases in duration and intensity. In true labor, the cervix thins and opens. It is best to go to the hospital when you have already started with true labor and a few centimeters dilated or open already.
Stages of Labor and What to Do
The duration of labor for those who are to deliver for the first time is normally longer. There are three stages. The first stage covers the time from the start of cervical opening or dilatation to the time when full dilatation is reached. In this stage, the mother should not yet push. It will only use up her energy, and she will end up exhausted by the time pushing is really required. In this stage, the mother and the fetus is closely monitored for their progress and condition. The second stage covers the time of full dilatation until the expulsion of the fetus. Here, the mother feels intense urge to bear down. The mother should not hold her breath or clench her fist during bearing down for it to be proper and effective. This is a crucial stage because inappropriately strong or weak pushing may cause injury to the baby and the vaginal canal. In the next stage, the placenta is born. This is also an important stage because the mother is at great risk to bleed. The uterus should be hard and board-like after expulsion of the placenta to prevent hemorrhage. To do this, the mother or the nurse must massage her abdomen or stimulate her nipples to contract the uterus.
Recovery is faster with normal delivery compared to cesarean section. It is important to start breast feeding as soon as possible. Breast feeding not only gives time for you and your baby to bond, but it also assists the body in its healing process. Infection during this period is one of the major concerns and that it why proper hygiene should always be prioritized.