Other names :
Labour, confinement, accouchment.
May be natural through the vagina, interventional through the vagina (eg: forceps, ventouse), or interventional by Caesarean section. Other rarely used techniques exist.
Ultrasound probes monitor the baby’s heart rate during labour. Monitors may also check the mother’s blood pressure and pulse.
You notice that you have lost some fluid, as you have ruptured the membranes around the baby, and labour should start very soon. The Branxton-Hicks contractions (the contractions that occur in the last six weeks or so of pregnancy) wake you more than usual. Soon after the membranes rupture you can feel the first contraction grinding through your abdomen. Every ten to fifteen minutes more contractions occur. Most are mild, but some make you stop in your tracks for a few seconds. When two contractions have occurred only 7 minutes apart, you should head off to hospital. On arrival you change into a nightie and answer questions. Despite it being a meal time you are not in the slightest bit hungry, and you are given an enema to clear your bowels.
The obstetrician calls in to see how you are progressing when the contractions are occurring every 3 or 4 minutes. S/he examines you to assess how far the cervix (the opening into the womb) has opened, how far down the birth canal the baby has progressed, and the position of the baby’s head. This examination will be repeated regularly by doctors and midwives throughout labour. As events progress, you are moved into the delivery room. Sensors are attached through the vagina onto the baby’s head to monitor its health. The contractions become more intense, and if the pain in your tummy doesn't attack you, the back ache does. Massage can ease the back ache, and breathing exercises you were taught by the physio at the antenatal classes prove remarkably effective in helping you with the more severe contractions. A pain relieving injection or breathing anaesthetic gas on a mask when the contractions start, make them more bearable.
Eventually you develop this irresistible desire to start pushing with all your might, and expel the baby that has slowly grown in your tummy. The obstetrician returns and is dressed in gown, gloves and mask. You are being urged to push, and even though it hurts, it doesn't seem to matter any more, as you labour with all your might to force the head of the baby out of your body. Another push, and another, and another and then a sudden sweeping, elating relief, followed by a healthy cry. You have your very own baby!
Birth is a very natural act, and the traditional method has served womankind well for millions of years, and is still by far the best way to have a baby, but some women have complications that make medical intervention essential. Complications can occur very suddenly and unexpectedly, which makes birth away from a centre where adequate facilities are available risky for both mother and child.
The vast majority of pregnancies end successfully in modern centres. The perinatal mortality (death rate of babies) in Australia is now less than 9 in a thousand. Maternal deaths are now extremely rare in developed countries, but a century ago, and in third world countries today, one third of all female deaths were due to childbirth.
Physiotherapists conduct antenatal classes at all maternity hospitals and in many private clinics on what to expect, and how to cope in childbirth. All mothers should attend such classes. Childbirth Education Associations exist in all major cities.
Medical curiosity :
Julius Caesar was purportedly delivered from his dead mother, alive and well, after her belly was cut open immediately upon her demise, giving rise to the common name for the operative delivery of a baby.
Pregnancy & Childbirth Information for Patients
| Posted in » Pregnancy