Childbirth Inducing Labor and Childbirth Signs of Labor

By the time a woman hits eight months in her pregnancy, she is often feeling more than ready to have her baby. The last few weeks seem to be the longest as she waits for childbirth labor and delivery. It can be a very worthwhile endeavor for both partners to take advantage of the many childbirth labor videos that are available via internet today, in order to be further prepared for what lies ahead. Hopefully both partners have been taking childbirth classes and have been watching childbirth videos so the birthing process feels familiar and predictable.

Childbirth Signs of Labor

In childbirth, signs of labor begin to manifest weeks or days before the actual labor kicks in. Suddenly breathing becomes easier as the baby drops and settles deeper in the pelvis in preparation for birth. The mucus plug that protects the cervix during the pregnancy is expelled causing what is known as a "bloody show", a clear, pink, or blood tinged mucus discharge that happens before childbirth labor pains begin. Then, the water may break, leaking or gushing amniotic fluid, an odorless and clear liquid. If this happens, the healthcare provider should be contacted since labor will begin imminently. A sudden burst of energy arrives on the scene and she's got a to-do list as long as her arm. This is not the time to clean the house and pull weeds - conserving energy is wise as it is needed for the job at hand, birthing the baby. The cervix thins more and begins to dilate in preparation for childbirth labor. All of these childbirth signs of labor precede the regular uterine contractions that are the strongest indication that labor is in full swing.

Stages of Childbirth Labor

There are several stages of childbirth labor and knowing them can help identify when it is time to get to the hospital or birthing center, or, if the baby is going to be born at home, then the doula can be called. Typically, Braxton-Hicks contractions (practice contractions) are felt right in the tummy, when it tightens and relaxes. True childbirth labor pains are usually felt in a number of places, like the lower back, the lower abdomen, thighs, buttocks and hips. They start out feeling a lot like menstrual cramps and then begin to develop a rhythm where they build slowly, peak, and then decline. The contractions progress over time and increase in intensity as the hours pass, coming closer together until they occur at 2-3 minutes apart. Once they come closer together, then tend to lengthen in time. At the outset they may come at 30 second duration and then, by the time labor is transitioning, they will be at one minute with 90 second duration. This progression is consistent with natural childbirth labor, when the birth is completed without the aid of medications or interventions as well as other methods of childbirth, using medications or stripping the membranes.

Natural Childbirth Labor

With a natural childbirth labor, induction methods are without medications or external interference. One of the natural methods of induction is thought to be sex (something she probably isn't much interested in at this point), however, sex isn't necessarily associated with starting labor. Rather, semen, which is the highest source of prostaglandins, can cause the cervix to ripen and open. Nipple stimulation causes a release of oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. Beware though, because over-stimulation can produce very strong contractions which can be harmful to baby. Advocates of natural childbirth labor are very aware of the advantages of herbs for triggering labor and who hasn't heard about using castor oil to get things going. One of the best natural ways to induce labor is by walking. It uses the force of gravity to ripen the cervix for the baby's birth.

Childbirth - Inducing Labor

The medical healthcare professionals use other types of methods to stimulate childbirth, inducing labor through stripping the membranes - a method of inserting a gloved finger into the vagina and separating the membrane that connects the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus. Labor usually starts shortly after this. Prostaglandins, naturally found in semen, are used in a medicinal form taken either orally or via a gel or suppository that is inserted into the vagina. This causes the cervix to soften and expand. A catheter with a water balloon on the end that is inserted into the vagina is sometimes used to accomplish the same thing. If the amniotic sac has not broken, the doctor may break it by making a hole in it with a small plastic hook. Finally, a drug called Pitocin, an artificial form of oxytocin, may be administered by IV. This kicks the contractions into overdrive, causing the birth of the baby.

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