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Stages of Labor 1. Introduction There are three stages of labor (Tortora & Derrickson 2008). The length of all the three stages differs with every mother, and with every experience. First time mothers may stay in labor for as long as twenty four hours or even more; while, those mothers who have already given birth vaginally may have quicker labor and deliveries…
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Download file to see previous pages BH contractions come at irregular intervals, with varying lengths and intensity; while early labor pains are regular, short, and mild like menstrual cramps. Another point of difference is that BH contractions stop with a change in position; while, early labor contractions do not vanish whatever position the woman tries. These contractions start when the cervix begins to dilate and efface. Labor officially starts with the effacement and dilatation of the cervix. Effacement refers to the thinning or ripening of the cervix; while dilatation refers to opening of the cervix to the birth canal. Early labor may long several hours, and thus, there is no need to rush to the hospital, as these pains can be taken at home more comfortably. The woman reaches the end of early labor when the contractions become closer and longer, like when they are five minutes apart and are of about one minute duration. Bloody show/discharge of mucous plug may also be seen. The cervix should be dilated 4 cm at the end of early labor. 2.2. Active Labor In active labor, contractions become more regular, and become closer, longer, and intense. The cervix dilates more progressively until it reaches 10 cm. Complete dilatation is the transition phase. The baby starts descending in the pelvis. The doctor will now break the amniotic sac if it has not yet broken. For first time moms, active labor may be several hours longer; while, for experienced moms, active labor may be much quicker, ending in an hour or even in some minutes. Women may also go for epidural which is given in active labor, to diminish the pain. Natural remedies for pain management include breathing deeply and some other relaxation techniques taught in childbirth classes. It is better to lie on left side to ensure proper blood circulation to the baby. 3. Stage Two Stage two starts when the transition has occurred; the baby is in the pelvis; and, the mother is feeling the urge to push the baby. That is why this stage is also known as pushing. The contractions may now seem easier to cope, as the pushing sensation is different from the pain of contractions in the active labor. During this stage, the contractions of the uterus apply pressure on the baby, due to which it moves down into the pelvis or the birth canal. The woman may be told to start pushing with every contraction, if she does not feel the urge itself. The baby’s head will start showing. The pressure of the baby’s head is hard on the perineum, so the doctor will have to incise the perineum to escape a natural cut. Perineum is the space between the vagina and the rectum. When the head emerges, the doctor looks for the umbilical cord, and cuts it if it is wrapped around the neck. The baby turns sideways so as to come out easily. Another contraction will move the whole baby out, followed by bloody discharge. The umbilical cord is clamped. Once out, the baby’s mouth and nose are checked for mucous through suction. The mother takes a sigh of relief because the contractions end, taking away all the pain. The second stage of labor is quicker for mothers who have had vaginal deliveries before. 4. Stage Three Stage 3 is the delivery of the placenta, which occurs some minutes after the birth of the baby. This happens with some uterine contractions, which are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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