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Your body and its changes during vaginal birth.


There’s a lot of research and data about the different ways you can give birth floating around the internet. You need to be well informed if, for example, you might have to go through a c-section to give birth. But even if you do have a normal delivery, there are certain bits of information that you need to be aware of! This article acts as a small guide on how your body will behave when you are pushing out your little one all by yourself!

What a normal delivery process entails is a birth that is least invasive, uses the least amount of technological or surgical help. It is the natural way that all mammals give birth. Once you are in labour and your cervix has dilated to 10 cms, you push your baby out through the vaginal canal by exerting pressure. It is an extremely painful, intense and exhausting feat. But it is how nature intended childbirth to be like.

     How do I know I’ll have a normal birth?

There are a few signs and symptoms during your pregnancy that you could use to identify if you could have a normal birth!

  • Your lower back will start to ache and strain as your little one puts more and more pressure on it.
  • Your baby will position itself in a head down position inside your womb. This is also called the cephalic position. This will happen around 32-34 weeks in.
  • Women who tend to have an active lifestyle during pregnancy are more likely to have normal births than those who don’t.
  • Your breasts might feel heavy, uncomfortable and sore.
  • Your vaginal discharge might look pink or white and could increase as you get closer to the due date.

Why is a normal delivery considered to be better?

  • It is noninvasive: There is no need for tools such as vacuums or forceps needed to pull the child out. If such tools are used on the baby’s soft skull at birth then there are a range of problems the baby could face. Such as chances of minor damages to the eyes, face, skull and even major damage like skull fractures, internal bleeding. Childbirth is already quite traumatic for your little one to experience, and the addition of this equipment could make it potentially worse.
  • You recover faster: After a vaginal delivery, your body recovers faster and heals itself quicker. If you needed a c-section or even an epidural, then there are more complications added to the mix and your body may take a while to get back to feeling and being normal.
  • Healthy bacteria from the vaginal canal: A vaginal delivery ensures that your child ingests certain healthy bacteria present in your vaginal canal during birth. This greatly benefits your little one by making it easier for him or her to digest milk and solid foods. It strengthens the baby’s digestive system and lays the foundation for healthy, normal digestion.
  • It provides resistance to illnesses: Those microbes in the vaginal canal not only help with the baby’s digestion but they lay the building blocks of your child’s immunity. They give your child the immunity to deal with any minor illness or infection that it could catch from the world outside as soon as they are born. This immunity stays with your child forever.
  • It helps you lactate: A natural labour process and birth kick starts your body’s hormones to start producing breastmilk for feeding. Oxytocin and endorphins, etc. start doing their work as soon as you deliver.

What can I expect from normal labour and a normal delivery process?

There are 3 main phases of normal childbirth. The latent, active and transitional phase.

  1. Latent phase:

    You feel the slight discomfort of contractions coming on. They won’t be full blown contractions since you are just starting out, but they will hurt a little.

    You might feel like using the toilet more.

  2. Active phase:

    The pressure on your back and abdomen will grow. The cervix could dilate up till 7 cms here. Contractions get more and more intense in terms of pain and the length at which they come. This is the stage where your deep breathing and relaxation techniques will come in handy. You and your near ones must prepare to reach the hospital or the place at which you know you are going to deliver. Let the process of getting there distract you from the pain.

  3. Transition phase:

The pressure builds up more and more and the pain will increase in intensity. Your contractions will be not as far apart from each other and they will last longer. Now is the time to lay down and reach your hospital. In this stage, the cervix dilates to 10 cms which is the most it can be dilated. This indicates you are ready for pushing your little one out.

  • After this stage, you will actually be told to push your little one out. The pressure building up will become a little unbearable and pushing out will come naturally to you. Instead of yelling out from your mouth, screaming or grunting from the throat will help with some catharsis from the pain. Ask for help, switch positions to get more comfortable, try and get someone to massage your back or even rub it. These little things come of the most help. If all goes as planned, your little one’s head will come out first followed by the rest of its body.
  • How to push the baby out?

    You will be told when its time. Push as if you were during a bowel movement and take deep breaths before each push. Try not to scream out too loud, that will be all the more exhausting. Listen to the instructions given and all will go well! We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

  • After your baby is out, you will also push out something known as the ‘afterbirth.’ This is simply the placenta. It will come out 15-30 minutes after your little one is out. Someone might have to massage the abdomen to induce your body to push out the afterbirth. The midwife or nurse will clean it up for you once it’s out. And then you are left with the joy of finally being able to hold your little one!

    How long does a normal pregnancy last?

    Typically speaking a vaginal delivery lasts around 7-8 hours. Once the water breaks and the cervix is dilated fully, then the actual act of pushing the child out lasts about an hour.

    What exactly happens when I’m in labour?

    There are a number of changes your body goes through in a short amount of time. During labour, your body is preparing itself to go through something as intense as childbirth.

  • There is a concentrated pain in the lower back.
  • The baby drops and comes into a position where its head is facing down towards the vaginal canal.
  • The cervix becomes thinner and it dilates up till 10 cms.
  • As a result, the mucus plug that acts as a guard for your uterus at your cervix slips out.
  • The pressure of the baby causes your bladder to want to empty itself constantly.
  • There is an urge to poop right before you give birth. It is very common and natural to have a bowel movement while giving birth as well. Sometimes an enema is given to avoid it so that there are no infections that could spread to the little one or you.
  • There is a rush of adrenaline in your body. This gives you the boost you need to push out and keep pushing out no matter what!


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