Childbirth - A Completely Natural Result of Your Pregnancy

The pregnancy pain that is both welcomed and feared more than any other is the pain associated with childbirth labor. Every woman has a story to tell about her pregnancy, labor and delivery. Regardless how many stories you hear, your experience is unique to you. You'll have your own childbirth story to tell.

Signs of Pending Labor and Delivery

Preparing for this most natural end to your pregnancy includes being informed as to the possible choices you have in the actual birthing process. Unless it is predetermined by a medical condition or past childbirth problems, pregnancy culminates in natural childbirth. There are several signs that your body is preparing for this momentous event, beginning several weeks before the baby is due. Suddenly you're able to breathe again. What happened? The baby dropped and settled more deeply into your pelvic area, preparing for exiting the womb. This drop allows more room in the diaphragm, therefore there's more room for breathing - but more pressure on the bladder causing frequent pee breaks. You may lose the mucus plug, a thick plug of mucus that blocks the cervical opening and protects against bacteria entering the uterus. This is sometimes called a "bloody show" and is precursor to the softening of the cervix for labor. This softening is called effacement and can begin several weeks before pregnancy labor starts. The membranes may rupture - that means your water breaks, and amniotic fluid either leaks out slowly or gushes out of the vagina. Unknown to you, your uterus begins to dilate. And then the one absolutely sure way to know childbirth labor is actually happening occurs--you start having contractions, and they're not Braxton-Hicks any longer. The closer to childbirth you are, the closer and more intense the pains.

What Are My Options?

There are several options available to most women who desire to have a natural childbirth. The help of obstetricians or family practitioners is most common. If you have had a complicated pregnancy, or a history of complications during pregnancy or pregnancy labor, then you'll want to have an obstetrician involved in the birth. Otherwise, your family doctor will probably be there to help you along through delivery. If you happen to be like many women these days, you may have a doula or midwife who has been with you for the duration of your pregnancy. As long as there are no complications along the way, delivering the baby at home is a great way to have the entire family involved. While home births are the way things were done for centuries, it is still important for you and your family to be well educated about possible risks and concerns that may arise. A "plan B" for hospital treatment in the event it is needed is wise.

Is There A Need for An Episiotomy?

At the point of delivering your baby, there may be the need to enlarge the vaginal opening in order to help the baby exit the birth canal. An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum and is used when birth is happening faster than the perineum has had time to stretch to accommodate. When a surgical incision-episiotomy-hasn't been made, there is often a tearing in the area. If the baby's head is too large or if the baby is in distress, then an episiotomy is performed. An anesthetic is injected into the perineum and a straight cut is made downward from the vaginal and perineum through the muscle between the vagina and the anus. Stitching the incision up again is done by the doctor after the delivery.

Get A Glimpse Of The Miracle Of Childbirth

Preparing for labor and childbirth can take on a variety of faces. One way to become familiar with what normally happens in a natural childbirth is to watch some pregnancy birth videos or check out some childbirth photos. Birth videos and childbirth photos are available in many places and you can see what a delivery would look like in a hospital, at home, at a birthing center, or in water. There is nothing like the emotional rush that comes when the baby is born. It's always a joy to behold. You may even want your labor and birth recorded in pictures or on video - many women do. If you have someone who can photograph or video the experience, then you'll have a piece of your child's history that you can share with him or her at some point in their lives.

The Cherry On Top - Breastfeeding

You probably have made the decision to breastfeed your baby and pregnancy breastfeeding is the best way to ensure your baby has everything he or she needs in terms of nourishment at birth and beyond. Pregnancy breastfeeding immediately after birth gives the baby colostrum, the first stage of breast milk that lasts for a few days after the baby is born. In a few days your milk will come in and you and your baby will be on your way.

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