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What does a natural birth look like?

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Avatar for Andjela99
Written by   35
1 year ago

Basic facts about vaginal delivery

  • Childbirth is different for every woman. And it can be different every time with the same woman.

  • Informing about the stages of childbirth will help you know what to expect and how to best prepare.

  • Make a birth plan to emphasize to the doctor and medical staff in time the options you can choose before, during, and after the birth.

  • The presence of a partner or other close person can help you relax more and have a better experience.

  • Try to settle down comfortably and relax during labor. Move around and try different positions until you find what works best for you.

How do I know that natural childbirth has begun?

You will know it is time to give birth when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Contractions that occur at regular intervals and become more frequent

  • Fluid leakage or vaginal bleeding

  • Dull pain in the lower back or lower abdomen

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor or go to the maternity hospital. Childbirth can occur before the term, ie before the 37th week of pregnancy...

Stages of natural childbirth

Childbirth takes place through 3 stages.

The first stage of childbirth (First childbirth period)

The first phase of childbirth is also the longest. In the first birth, it can take 12 to 19 hours, while in mothers who have already given birth, it is usually shorter (about 14 hours).

In this phase, the contractions are stronger and occur at regular intervals to lead to the shortening and opening of the neck. Contractions in this phase gradually open the cervix and help the baby to descend into the pelvis and birth canal.

The first phase ends when the neck is open about 10cm.

We can divide the first phase into 3 stages:

  • Early or latent phase

  • Active phase

  • Transition phase

The early or latent stage of labor

In the early phase of childbirth, the cervix softens and opens slowly. In most first-borns, this early phase lasts about 6 to 12 hours. You can spend this time at home or wherever you feel comfortable. During this stage:

  • You may feel moderate contractions that come and go every 5 to 15 minutes and last for 60 to 90 seconds. These contractions are still uneven and sometimes it takes several days before you enter the active phase.

  • You may notice colored (pinkish or reddish, bloody) vaginal secretions. However, if you have heavier bleeding, such as during menstruation, call a doctor immediately.

What can you do in the early stages of childbirth?

This is the time to relax and remember the techniques of breathing, relaxation, and pain control from parenting school.

It is recommended that you stay at home for as long as possible, to increase the production of oxytocin (a hormone that accelerates childbirth). Oxytocin can be naturally stimulated by relaxing, enjoying, staying with loved ones, and you will certainly relax more in your home than in a hospital setting.

During the early phase:

  • Rest and relax as much as you can.

  • Take a shower or lie down in the bathtub.

  • Walk around. Walking will help the baby move towards the pelvis and the neck will open.

  • Change positions often.

  • Make sure you are ready to go to the hospital.

  • Inhale and exhale slowly and calmly during contractions.

  • Eat light foods to maintain energy without straining your stomach.

  • If you feel contractions during the night, try to relax and get some sleep if you can.

How much does childbirth really hurt?

Pain during childbirth is experienced differently, from woman to woman, and from pregnancy to pregnancy. To some women, this pain is very similar to menstrual pain, to others as very strong pressure, and to others as strong painful waves, like diarrhea.

Often, the pain during contractions is not the most difficult for women, but the fact that the contractions keep coming back and as the birth progresses, the period of rest between them is getting shorter.

Fortunately, today there are effective ways to reduce labor pain, so it would be good to find out about all the options earlier.

For some women, it will be enough to apply relaxation techniques and methods to make the pain more endurable, while for some, regional anesthesia, such as epidurals, will be a better option.

The active phase of childbirth

The active phase usually lasts about 4 to 8 hours. It starts when the contractions become regular, and the throat is open 3 to 6 cm. Now it's time to go to the maternity hospital.

During the active phase of childbirth:

  • The contractions that widen the cervix become stronger, longer-lasting, and more painful. Each lasts about 45 seconds and can be increased to 3 minutes.

  • You may feel pressure in your lower back, as well as pain in your legs.

  • You can get the urge to strain.

  • The neck will open up to 10cm.

  • If the aquarium has not already burst, it can happen now.

  • You may feel nauseous.

Go to the maternity ward or contact your gynecologist if:

  • Contractions become regular, every 3 minutes

  • An aquarium bursts

  • You have very strong contractions and the need to take painkillers

  • Worry about any symptoms you feel

If you came to the maternity hospital before the onset of the active phase of childbirth, they may take you home and tell you when to come again.

When the active phase occurs, the midwife will visit you from time to time to check how the birth is progressing and how you are feeling.

This includes listening to your baby's heart rate every 15 minutes or so.

You will definitely be able to move freely.

If he deems it necessary, or if you opt for epidural anesthesia, you may also be connected to a CTG device (a device that measures the baby's heart rate and the strength of contractions).

The neck should be 10 cm open so that the baby can come out. As you get closer to the end of this phase, you may have an urge to push.

Accelerating childbirth

Childbirth can progress more slowly than expected. In case the contractions are not frequent enough or strong enough, the doctor may decide to speed up the birth.

This is called induction, and it is usually done with two procedures: the midwife mechanically breaks through the water and you receive the hormone oxytocin through the infusion.

As soon as induction is applied, you will be attached to a CTG machine to carefully monitor the condition of the fetus, as well as the strength of the contractions.

What can you do in the active phase of childbirth?

  • Make sure the medical staff knows about your birth plan.

  • Try to stay calm and don't think much about the next contraction.

  • Move around and change position often. Walk the hallways of the maternity ward.

  • Take water and other liquids.

  • If you have planned epidural anesthesia, now is the right time to get it. This is part of your birth plan that medical staff should be aware of.

  • Go to the toilet often to empty your bladder. An empty bladder allows more space for the baby's head to pass.

  • If the urge to push occurs, tell the midwife or doctor giving birth to you. Do not push until the doctor checks the opening of the cervix.

The transitional phase of childbirth (transition)

It can last from 15 minutes to an hour. During the transition phase:

  • The contractions are getting closer to each other and last from 60 to 90 seconds. You may feel the need to push.

  • You may feel very high pressure in your lower back and rectum. If there is a need to push, tell the midwife.

At this stage, you may feel fever, shivering, and maybe nauseous. You may also feel scared because of the pain that occurs.

To calm down, you can try visualization. Imagine something or a place that relaxes you and makes you feel safe.

Concentrate on rhythmic breathing. This way you supply both yourself and the baby with extra oxygen.

The second phase of natural childbirth (Second childbearing age)

This is the moment you have been "waiting for" - at this stage, your baby will see the light of day.

In the second stage of childbirth, the cervix is ​​completely open and ready for childbirth. Now, most of the work is expected of you because the midwife will ask you to start pushing the baby outside. This phase can last from 20 minutes to several hours.

How long it will take depends on several factors. In first-borns, it will generally last longer than in subsequent births. The use of epidural anesthesia can also prolong the duration of the second phase of labor.

The second phase ends when the baby is born.

In what position will I give birth?

Depending on the practice of the maternity hospital, you may be able to choose in which position (position) you want to give birth. You can ask this question to your doctor in advance.

The midwife will help you if you want to sit, lie on your side, stand, kneel on all fours, squat.

If you have severe back pain, you may enjoy kneeling on all fours.

The most common practice, however, is for the woman to lie down, and the midwife helps to bend and hold the legs.

During the second phase (second parturition):

  • At the beginning of this phase, contractions usually become a little less frequent, separated by 2 to 5 minutes, which will come as a much-desired rest. They last about 60 to 90 seconds.

  • You may have an episiotomy - a surgical incision that will prevent the perineum from tearing. The need for an episiotomy is assessed by the midwife depending on the swelling of the perineal tissue under the pressure of the baby's head. If an episiotomy is performed, anesthesia is not needed because, under the pressure of the baby's head on the perineal nerves, the pain during the incision will not even be felt.

  • You may feel a strong urge to push. This urge is very similar to the urge to empty your bowels.

  • This part of childbirth is difficult, but the midwife will help, guide, and encourage you. Breathing techniques can help a lot, and the presence of a partner or a close person is invaluable support.

  • When the baby's head is almost ready to come out, you can feel this as a strong burning sensation in the area of ​​the perineum (between the vagina and the rectum).

  • The midwife will tell you to stop pushing and take short breaths, blowing on your mouth. In this way, you give the skin and muscles of the perineum time to stretch spontaneously, so that the baby comes out slowly and gently.

  • As soon as the baby's head comes out, most of the effort is behind you. It only takes a few more strains for the baby to come out completely.

  • As soon as the baby is born, the mucus is immediately removed from the airways so that it can start breathing on its own. After about 10 seconds, the baby will most likely cry.

  • You will probably feel great physical relief and a whole range of strong emotions. If all went well, the baby will be immediately placed in your arms to make skin-to-skin contact.

  • This is followed by cutting the umbilical cord by pinching the umbilical cord on both sides with pliers and then cutting it. Recent studies have shown that it is better not to cut the umbilical cord immediately, but to wait a few minutes with this.

  • Your baby will enjoy warming up and cuddling on your chest. If you want, you can also try breastfeeding for the first time.

What can you do during the second phase of labor?

Push during contractions, and rest between them. Push when you feel the urge, but follow what the midwife tells you - pushing too early or too much can cause a perineal tear...

The third phase of natural childbirth (Third childbirth)

In the third phase of childbirth, the placenta is expelled. This is the shortest phase and usually does not last longer than 20 minutes.

During the third stage of labor:

  • You have contractions that are frequent but no longer so painful. You can get some medications to help with contractions and prevent major bleeding.

  • When the placenta separates from the uterus, the midwife will pull the umbilical cord that is attached to the placenta and pull it out through the vagina. This usually happens in the first 30 minutes after the baby is born.

  • If you had an episiotomy, they will sew you up now.

  • If you have agreed to store stem cells, a sample will now be picked up. This should be part of your birth plan that the staff is familiar with.

  • Now you may feel feverish and have a feeling of dread. This is the result of exhaustion and will pass when you rest. If you are worried about this feeling, tell your doctor or medical staff.

What can you do in the third stage of childbirth?

  • Enjoy the first moments with the baby.

  • Try breastfeeding your baby. Many women can start breastfeeding their baby in the first hour after birth.

  • Be proud of a difficult task. You did it!

What happens when a baby is born?

You have finally seen your little creature! Immediately after birth, the midwife will give you a baby in her arms, so that she can feel the warmth of your skin and your scent. Holding the baby in your arms will make her feel warm as she slowly prepares for the new environment.

Holding the baby will calm the baby, so she will be more ready to start sucking. Even if you do not plan to breastfeed, holding the baby in your arms, on your skin, will help the baby get to know you. This is an ideal way to start getting closer to your baby.

Natural childbirth or a cesarean section?

This is definitely a hot topic among pregnant women, so you can often hear that one will praise the cesarean section experience, while the other will insist that there is no better way than the natural way.

It is true that there is no "better" way because every pregnancy is different, so the circumstances of a baby's birth are specific. What will be a better way for one baby does not necessarily mean that it will be for another.

The decision to give birth by cesarean section can be made in advance when for reasons that can make a vaginal delivery high risk, the doctor recommends this option as better. The reasons for a cesarean section are most often multiple pregnancies and a chronic side of the pregnant woman.

The decision on a cesarean section can be made immediately before the birth, in situations when the baby is too big for the mother's pelvic measures, when the baby is in an incorrect position, or when the birth contractions start to weaken and the cervix does not expand despite all the measures taken.

Lately, many young pregnant women decide to have a cesarean section, primarily because of the fear of the pain of natural childbirth and possible consequences such as incontinence in old age, sagging of the vaginal and uterine walls, and potential rupture of the perineum.

These are things that can happen with natural childbirth, but not with cesarean section.

On the other hand, a cesarean section is a serious operation that carries the risks of losing more blood, creating clots, developing an infection, and requiring a longer recovery period than is the case with natural childbirth.

What is better for the baby?

From the aspect of potential complications, there is no big difference. Studies have shown that after a cesarean section, babies have poorer lung function, but this equalizes in the first few days. There are some indications that babies born by cesarean section may have problems with allergies and asthma later in life.

Scientists believe that this has to do with the microbes that the baby is naturally exposed to in the cervix during the passage through the birth canal. Thanks to them, the baby strengthens its immunity.

On the other hand, the baby got enough germs from the mother's skin as well. And breastfeeding immediately reduces the baby's risk of eczema and allergies, and additionally builds their immune system.

All in all, before thinking about which is the best way to give birth to a baby, it is better to think first of all that the most important thing is to come home with a healthy baby. After all, it is not so important how she arrived, but that she is healthy and safe.


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Being a woman is not easy. pregnant women are really trying.

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1 year ago

great article about an important topic. you have described well.

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1 year ago

Wow! Your writing skills is so wonderful. And also meaningful topic. Everyone should know about it. Thanks for your beautiful article

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1 year ago

আপনার দুর্দান্ত নিবন্ধের জন্য আপনাকে অনেক ধন্যবাদ।

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1 year ago

Your tips will be very useful for a pregnant woman who wants to have a normal delivery. Nowadays, it has become a tradition to have a baby by caesarean section. In our country, about 80% of babies are delivered by caesarean section. Patients with normal delivery also have a caesarean section

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1 year ago

This is the most challenging part of being a woman

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1 year ago

Oh dear thank you so much for your awesome article.for me this is a new topic. What does a natural birth look like?this article is very read your article i achieve some new knowledge.

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1 year ago

You know it's really hard to be a woman delivering a baby that's why every mother in the universe should be respected

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1 year ago