Lesson 4 Birth

  • Recognise the signs of the start of your labour
  • Understand the different ways of giving birth 
  • Understand the different stages of labour
  • Understand what to do when you feel contractions

The following signs will indicate the start of your labour. If you would notice any of these signs, you can call your doctor or midwife or go to the hospital.

  • If you would have a little bit of vaginal blood loss.
  • If you would lose the mucous plug (this has a sticky consistency).
  • If you would lose amniotic fluid
  • If you would feel regular contractions since one hour. Regular means contractions with an interval of 5 to 10 minutes between contractions.

There are two ways of giving birth: Natural delivery and surgical delivery.

  • This means that the baby is born through the vagina of the mother. 
  • You can deliver in the hospital or birth centre or at home (if there are no significant risks)
  • To give birth to your baby, you need to have contractions. These contractions are necessary to dilate the cervix. When the cervix has an opening of 10cm, you are ready for birth. This can be checked with a vaginal examination.
  • The midwife will guide you through your labour and the doctor will be informed whenever you arrive to the hospital. 
  • Your partner or the person of your choice can stay with you during this process. 
  • There are several techniques to control the pain of the contractions:
    • You can try to move around or use a ball chair
    • You can try breathing techniques. Your midwife can help you with this. 
    • You can take a warm bath to relax
    • You can use a hot pillow for your lower back or belly 
    • You can ask an epidural anaesthetic. This injection in the lower back can be put by an anaesthesiologist in the hospital to ease the pain.
  • During the labour the heart rate and contractions of the baby will be monitored. 
  • When the baby is born, the umbilical cord will be cut and the placenta will leave your body within the first 30 minutes after delivering your baby. 

A labour has different stages:

  • This is an operation during which the doctor makes an incision just above the pubic bone of the mother to deliver the baby.
  • If a surgical delivery is inevitable, the date of the operation will be planned before labour starts.
  • There are several reasons to perform a caesarean section:
    • The pelvis of the mother is too small
    • The placenta is positioned in front of the cervix
    • A part of the umbilical cord comes out of the cervix
    • The position of the baby doesn’t make a natural delivery possible
    • The mother or the child have a medical problem that doesn’t make a natural birth possible
    • When the baby or mother are in severe distress and a natural delivery is no longer an option. This will be an emergency caesarean section.

What about the contractions? Look at this video to know more about contractions and whether you should go to the hospital, call the midwife or the doctor.