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What does a woman body go through during labor

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If you end up having a vaginal birth, here are some of the things your body will do:. Ever wondered why so many women go into labour in the middle of the night? One theory is that the human body is primed to seek a dark, comfortable place to give birth, which could also explain why so many labours stall when women arrive at hospital argh! While the science is still out on the night-labour theory, a study found that melatonin secreted at night synergises with oxytocin to produce labour contractions.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What Happens During Labor Contractions?

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Patient Education Animation: Labor and Vaginal Birth

What Happens in Labor?

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Your labor will be unique, influenced by many factors: the size, position, and health of your baby; your health and medical history; your expectations and feelings; the people who support and attend to you; and the place in which you labor and give birth. But despite the variations, there is a common theme: the natural flow of labor. This process involves interplay between you and your baby. During your pregnancy, your body has held and protected your baby.

Now, under the influence of hormones that you and your baby release, your body will soften, open, and yield to allow the baby to pass through. Labor contractions, your body movements, and your pushing efforts will guide the baby down while the baby flexes, stretches, and rotates to navigate the birth canal.

Giving birth was life-changing for me and for many of the women I have attended as a midwife. In a world in which we may often feel ineffective and pessimistic, working through labor under our own power can transform our sense of self. We experience ourselves as strong, sturdy, resilient, and able.

We tap on inner strengths we may never have tapped before and are amazed by what we are able to accomplish. Once we become aware of how powerful we can be in giving birth, we can call on this throughout our lives, in all sorts of situations. At three a. We had an already scheduled appointment with Lucy at ten. Off we went, and all of a sudden, there I was in hard labor, doubled over.

Back we drove to the hospital birth center. No one was expecting us; the place was empty. We got a room. Good show! Labor continues the process begun at conception.

The finely tuned biological system that nurtures developing babies guides labor as well. Just before labor begins, your body and your baby get ready for birth. The joints in your hips and pelvis further relax and open, ligaments increasingly soften, and the baby may drop deeper in your pelvis. Toward the end of pregnancy—for some women, even earlier—you may occasionally feel a painless tightening of your uterus, the Braxton-Hicks contractions. You may also feel increased pressure in your pelvis and on your bladder as the baby settles deeper into your pelvis.

I went into spontaneous labor in the wee morning hours during a rainstorm. My contractions started waking me up at two a. I deep conditioned my hair and carefully shaved my legs, knowing that I might not have the luxury to do these things in the busy weeks to come.

I told my partner, Brian, at around four a. We snuggled in bed, and he put on one of my favorite movies. I held on to him tightly through my contractions, which were not that close together yet. I called Melissa, my nearest and dearest friend, who lives three hours away. She was one of my labor support team. She would head down right away to help me through this. The latent phase of labor may feel much the same to you as pre-labor, but during this time your cervix will open up dilate to four to five centimeters and will usually completely thin out efface.

Labor contractions will be short and spaced relatively far apart from five to twenty minutes apart. During the latent phase, your contractions will become longer, more painful, and more regular. This is not yet the time to go to a hospital or birthing center. However, most women at this stage want some kind of care, such as the reassuring presence of a partner or close friend or a care provider or other guide familiar with birth. Some women say that this phase of labor is the hardest psychologically.

One midwife explains:. Later, it may get physically more difficult, but at least then you can see the end in sight, the peak of the mountain, and you can push on. Sometimes contractions build up gradually, starting with any of the signs mentioned above, with menstrual-like cramps evolving into stronger contractions that grow closer together over a long period of time, sometimes even over a period of days. At the other extreme, labor can begin abruptly, with strong regular contractions no more than five minutes apart, causing you to stop everything you are doing and concentrate.

Everyone responds differently to early labor. Walking, showering, taking long baths, or cuddling with loved ones can relax you and help labor progress. These early hours may be sweet as you lie with your partner or sit alone, the baby still within you in the quiet of your home.

It is important that you continue to eat nourishing foods to prepare you for the work ahead. And sleep is critical for much the same reason, particularly with a first baby, for which labor may be longer. Some women feel too excited or apprehensive to sleep. Try to save your energy for active labor. When we went for a walk, we ran into friends. I thought you were in labor.

For many first-time mothers, it can take a day or more to get to about four centimeters dilation, which signals entry into the active phase of labor. The contractions may begin in your back, you may feel them only in the front, or you may feel them in both the back and front. Your uterus feels hard to the touch. Though you may have heard that labor will get more and more painful as it progresses, this is not necessarily true.

Some women say the active phase of labor was the most painful, some say the transition phase, and others say pushing was the most painful. In general, women feel the most pain during periods when the cervix is dilating fast or when the baby is descending quickly. These events can happen at different phases of labor for different women.

I spent most of the night laboring alone in the dark, like a cat. It was marvelous. It was intense. This is the time to gather your support people, to call your provider if you are having a home birth, or to prepare to go to the birth center or hospital. If you are not sure if you are in active labor yet, your care provider can help you know for sure. A careful phone consultation, a home visit, or a visit at the office can help determine your progression.

Staying home or in another familiar, comfortable setting until active labor is well established is an important strategy for reducing your chance of interventions. Studies show that being admitted to a hospital in early labor increases the chances of having medications to speed up your labor or a cesarean section. Travel can be an uncomfortable challenge during active labor, but you can regain your rhythm once you are settled in your chosen birth setting.

Progress in the active phase of labor, both for first-time mothers and for women who have given birth before, is widely variable. As long as the mother and baby are doing well, labor should be allowed to progress on its own. I got stuck at about 8 to 9 centimeters for a really long time. I had not reached the end of my strength.

The last few centimeters, from eight centimeters to complete dilation about 10 centimeters , can be the hardest, most intense phase of labor, but it is also usually the shortest.

In first pregnancies, this period generally lasts no more than a couple of hours. Excellent labor support from a loved one or doula can help you discover deep wells of strength to finish birthing. If you experience challenges at this time, keep in mind that this is the home stretch. Your body has already accomplished most of the difficult work.

Do whatever makes you feel more comfortable and helps you handle the intensity of labor. When transition is over, you will be pushing your baby out. One woman recalls how she shed her usual inhibitions during transition:. All through the night, I heaved around on the floor in a variety of positions—on my side Jane Fonda aerobics style, on all fours with ass and yoni to the wind, on the floor, and then up on the bed.

I was desperate for comfort, relief and a baby in my arms. Shift changes were going on, and people were coming and going.

It was like Grand Central Station. They asked me if I minded having a nursing student watch the birth. The peak of each contraction was such that I needed to close my eyes and really concentrate on the number of deep breaths I was taking, knowing that at the count of five or eight, depending on the length of the sensation, it would start to ease up.

I knew time was my only ally in dealing with the pain. With time each contraction would be over, with time the baby would be born. What Happens in Labor? Another woman describes the beginning of her labor: I went into spontaneous labor in the wee morning hours during a rainstorm. Labor Begins and Early Latent Labor The latent phase of labor may feel much the same to you as pre-labor, but during this time your cervix will open up dilate to four to five centimeters and will usually completely thin out efface.

Labor Progresses Active First Stage For many first-time mothers, it can take a day or more to get to about four centimeters dilation, which signals entry into the active phase of labor.

Another woman says: The peak of each contraction was such that I needed to close my eyes and really concentrate on the number of deep breaths I was taking, knowing that at the count of five or eight, depending on the length of the sensation, it would start to ease up.

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7 amazing things that happen to your body during labour

Learning how your body works at the end of pregnancy and during childbirth is very helpful as you prepare for birth. When you understand what is happening, you can interpret your body's signals more effectively and participate more fully in your labor and birth. Let's review the basic anatomy of your pelvis, uterus, and cervix and the structures surrounding them and your baby.

Pregnancy, labour and delivery are incredibly physically demanding for women. But birth is no walk in the park for the baby either. The brain itself changes form as this happens too.

And that form of labor takes plenty of work, as the female body transforms itself from a mere mortal into a miraculous maternity machine. The TL;DR version? Women are freaking superheroes. Progesterone suppresses the desire for food, Romero says, forcing the digestive system to essentially shut itself down while a woman is laboring. In the midst of all this, the brain is releasing the hormone oxytocin, which zooms toward the uterus and fuels contractions, explains Dr.

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When Claire L. Slender hips and big babies were a family trademark. At about 20 weeks, Claire, then 30 and living in Santa Cruz, California, told her obstetrician about her family history. Much to her surprise, the doctor waved away her concerns. The takeaway was that practically anyone can deliver vaginally. So Claire went home and did her best not to worry too much about it. Like many first-time moms, Claire went overdue.

How Does My Body Work During Childbirth?

The shape of the pelvis, hormones, powerful muscles and more all work together to help you bring your baby into the world - before, during and after childbirth. The hormone oxytocin causes contractions during labour, as well as contractions that deliver the placenta after the baby is born. In the weeks or days before you start having proper contractions, you may experience Braxton Hicks contractions. This is your uterus tightening then relaxing.

Your labor will be unique, influenced by many factors: the size, position, and health of your baby; your health and medical history; your expectations and feelings; the people who support and attend to you; and the place in which you labor and give birth.

Back to Your pregnancy and baby guide. During the 1st stage of labour, contractions make your cervix gradually open dilate. This is usually the longest stage of labour. At the start of labour, your cervix starts to soften so it can open.

The Scary Truth About Childbirth

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Managing Pain During Labor without Medication

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During weeks 7–12 from the LMP, the pregnancy hormones are primarily As the woman's body adapts to pregnancy, characteristic physiologic changes occur. with more than one fetus, which usually causes her to go into labor early.

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