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What to expect during labour!

No two women are the same; therefore, no two births will be the same even with your own subsequent pregnancies.

There is no text book that can tell you when you will go into labour, what you will experience and what the outcome will be.

Independent childbirth education is about preparing you for your labour and birth, and we can give you a broad outline of what to expect, but keep in mind that deviations from yours and your caregivers plans can and do happen.

When things start to deviate from how you thought it would be, or what you have written in your birth plan, don’t feel that “things didn’t go to plan” because¬†with birth there is no plan – expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for any birth.

That means being educated, prepared, confident and excited about the birth of your baby no matter how they choose to be born.

There are 3 stages for labour & birth.

Stage 1 is made up of 3 parts:

Stage 2 is the birth of your baby.

Stage 3 is the birth of the placenta.

Stage 1 – Warm-Up Phase

Think of this as the first 15km of a marathon!

The warm-up phase is when you start to feel contractions, yet they are not regular, and may stop and start.

This can go on for days, but the average is 12 to 24 hours.

The warm-up phase is the period from your first contraction and less than 4cms dilated.

Some signs you may experience during the warm-up phase are:

What to do during the warm-up phase:

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth,

 

Stage 1 – Active Labour

This is the 15km to 30km section of the marathon.

This is when you may start thinking about going to the hospital – but don’t go too early – stay at home for as long as you can, unless of course you are going to feel a lot calmer and safer at the hospital earlier.

At this stage of the marathon, you will be having strong, regular contractions (2 or 3 in a 10-minute period) and have been doing that for at least an hour.

Your contractions will be getting longer, stronger and closer together.

It is hard work, but you are mentally and physically strong and motivated.

It would be so much better for women if RANZCOG adopted the same dilation progress as the US and changed active labour being from 4cm to 6cm, which would give women so much more time before interventions is suggested, but unfortunately here in Australia active labour is considered from 4cm.

Some signs you may experience during active labour are:

What to do during active labour:

 

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth,

Stage 1 – Transition

Think of this as the 30km to 40km stage of the marathon!

This is the point when many women hit a brick wall.

You may need your birth support right there alongside you and giving you words of encouragement and keeping your mind focussed on the prize ahead.

This is when mums will usually ask for drugs or epidural.

They may say “I can’t do this anymore”.

Birth support team will say “Yes you can do this, because you are doing this.”

This is where the mum will need the most support, encouragement and loving words to feel safe and supported.

Some signs you may experience during the transition phase are:

What to do during the transition labour phase:

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth,

Stage 2 – Birth

You are now almost at the finish line to claim your prize.

Birth, pregnancy, VBAC, pushing baby out, Vicki Hobbs, VBAC statistics, maternity, mothers and babies, cesarean, caesarean, VBAC in Australia, Hypnobirthing Australia, VBAC in Perth,

Stage 3 – Birth of the placenta

Once your baby is born, the third stage is to birth the placenta.

Many hospitals routinely give you the syntocinon (synthetic oxytocin) injection, which makes the placenta come out faster.

This is called a managed third stage and if you prefer to have a physiological birth of your placenta you will need to put this in your birth plan.

Your midwife will examine the placenta and membranes to make sure that nothing has been left behind. She will also feel your tummy to check that your uterus is contracting hard to stop the bleeding from the place where the placenta was attached.

You may want to have a look at the placenta and also take some photos as it is a beautiful organ that has been your baby’s lifeline through your pregnancy. You could even look into doing Placenta Encapsulation for your placenta rather than discarding it.

Bonding of mum and baby with immediate skin-to-skin contact is recommended particularly during that first hour after birth so baby feels safe and calm.

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If you would like to know more on how to prepare for your birth so you feel confident, while having tools and techniques to help you cope through your labour and birth without fear and avoiding interventions and caesarean, then send me a message using the contact form.

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Vicki Hobbs

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    About Vicki Hobbs

    My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy & Postpartum Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach.

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