Pregnancy week by week



Second stage of labour

Second stage is marked by active labour, the actual birth, where you push your baby out. This stage begins when the cervix is fully dilated and lasts until the birth of your baby. This phase lasts for 3 to 4 hours. This phase is much more active in the sense that the cervix not just contracts but keeps dilating till the water breaks. Your doctor will help you to find a comfortable position and will guide you when you feel the urge to push.

Find the position that you prefer and which will make labour easier for you. You might want to remain in bed with your back propped up with pillows, or stand, sit, kneel or squat. If you are very tired, you might be more comfortable lying on your side rather than propped up with pillows. This is also a better position for your baby. If you have suffered from backache in labour, kneeling on all fours might be helpful.

This stage of labour is hard work, but your doctor will help and encourage you all the time. Keep doing the deep relaxation exercises that you have practised throughout your pregnancy. It is also extremely reassuring for an expectant mother to have her husband by her side when she is about to deliver her baby, especially if it is the couple’s first child.

Pushing : as your baby moves down into the vagina with the force of each contraction, you may suddenly feel the urge to open your bowels; this is perfectly normal. Some women do pass motion during labour. You will be advised NOT to push before you feel the urge to. Pushing your baby can be a lengthy and exhausting process and can take from 40-90 minutes in normal circumstances.

Panting:  as your baby’s head is near to being born your urge to push becomes overwhelming. It is important to listen to your doctor about when to pant rather than push. This will help reduce the incidence of tears to your perineum as the baby is born.

Points to remember when pushing:
  • Only push when the urge is there.

  • Focus your pushing into your bottom (as if you are constipated) rather than your throat, arms or legs.

  • Try to concentrate your effort in pushing rather than screaming.

  • Take two deep breaths as the contractions start, and push down

  • Don’t hold your breath longer than you can whilst pushing. Take another breath and if the contraction is still there, push again.

  • Push with each contraction and after each contraction, rest and get your strength up for the next one.

Ways to cope with strong labour:

Labour usually progresses much more quickly once your cervix had dilated to four or five centimetres. Contractions become more frequent, and longer and stronger; your doctor may call this “established” labour. By this stage, most women need to concentrate completely on coping with contractions.
There’s plenty you can do to help yourself:
  • Hang on to your birth companion- literally! Stand with your arms around his shoulders and let him support you, while you focus on relaxing and breathing

  • Find the most comfortable position to cope: you might need to change position every few contractions

  • With each contraction take a deep breath and sigh out. Continue to breathe evenly, “leaning on” the out  breath

  • Shout if you want to!

  • In between contractions, drop your shoulders and relax

  • Ask your birth companion to massage your back if it helps.

The birth

Following this is the transition period and this is arguably the most serious phase in the delivery of your baby. The cervix at this stage is completely dilated and because of the intensity of contractions you may be in lot of pain. You must take deep breaths and try to relax as far as you can as stress will complicate the delivery. During this period, your pain will increase as your contractions will intensify. This stage will end with you pushing the baby out into the world!

During the second stage, the baby’s head moves down until it can be seen. The skin of the perineum usually stretches well, but it may tear. Sometimes to avoid a tear or to speed up the delivery, the doctor will inject local anaesthetic and cut an episiotomy. Afterwards, the cut or tear is stitched up again and heals.  As your baby is about to be born, your doctor will tell you not to push, but to pant. This allows the baby’s head to be born gently. Once your baby’s head is born, most of the hard work is over. During the next contraction or two your baby will be born, with a rush of waters and a warm slithery feeling. If you wish, the doctor can lift the baby straight onto your tummy, or the baby can be wrapped first. You can then hold your baby and start to get to know her. Congratulations you are now a proud mother!












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