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3168R.GP What should I expect when I go into labour

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Going in to labour is a big and exciting step for all mums. And yet it is often misunderstood and can cause confusion. We are often asked what you should expect and what you should do when going into labour. This video will explain the first stages of labour, and what you and your birthing partner can do to help your experience of giving birth. We hope that this will help you to feel more in control of what is happening. This early part of labour can last for up to 24 hours, or even longer for first time mothers, and so it is very rarely necessary for you to go into hospital or the community birthing unit at this time. Once in established labour the contractions become regular and become progressively more intense. During this time the neck of the womb, known as the cervix, softens, shortens and opens up, ready for your baby to be born. Occasionally, the first sign of labour is that your waters break. This means that the sack of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby has broken. You will feel a gush, leak or trickle of fluid in your vagina which you cannot control. If this happens before any other signs of labour, you may need to have an examination to confirm that that your waters have broken. If they have we will advise you to be induced the next day if you do not go into labour naturally. There are a number of things you and your birthing partner can do during this early stage of labour to minimise any discomfort and and to encourage labour. If labour begins at night, try to rest or sleep. If it starts during the day, stay relaxed but continue light activities; try going for a walk, or taking a shower or bath. But don’t do anything which is too tiring. You may want to try standing or sitting in different positions. Try sitting with your legs up on a stool, sitting backwards on a chair, sitting on a yoga ball, or leaning against the wall or your partner. There are no rules, just do what is comfortable for you. It is important that you stay hydrated and fed. Have regular drinks of juice or water, about one cup every hour. Don’t skip any meals; and eat something light but nutritious. Go to the toilet regularly to keep your bladder empty. When you have a contraction remember to breathe slowly and try to release any tension in your body. If your waters have broken or you are starting to experience strong, regular contractions, contact your midwife or the birthing unit where you are booked to have your baby. They will be able to tell you whether you can stay at home. The next stage is established labour. By now your cervix will have opened at 4 to 5 centimetres, and the labour will begin to progress more quickly. You will know that you have entered this stage as your contractions will be stronger, more regular, will last for 40 to 60 seconds, will be closer together, and will require your full concentration. You will feel the need to rest more between the contractions and you will become very focussed on what is going on in your body. During this stage it is important to find a position that is comfortable for you, where you can relax and feel fully supported. You should change position regularly as you did during the early stages of your labour. Try to remain upright and mobile as this helps labour to progress. Keep drinking fluids, but if you are feeling sick, only have sips of water or suck on ice cubes. In between contractions, ask your birthing partner for a massage or use hot or cold packs against your skin. As your labour progresses your contractions become longer and closer together. You may notice that you become more emotional, irritable or make irrational demands, and feel scared or out of control. We call this period the transition phase. At this time some women develop shivering, cramps, nausea, vomiting or hiccups, and you may feel pressure on your bowel as the baby’s head moves deeper into the birth canal. To make this stage easier, continue to suck on ice cubes or take small sips of water to reduce any sickness. You may want to close your eyes to avoid distractions. Change position frequently in order to stay comfortable. Some women like to lie in bed on their side or front, whereas others find kneeling on all fours helps. After the transition phase you will move into the second stage of labour which is when your baby is born. Your cervix is fully open at this stage, and you will get an urge to push as the baby moves down into your vagina. Your midwife will guide you through your birth, advising you when to push and when to relax. If you have any questions about going into labour

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Duration: 5 minutes and 56 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 1
Posted by: richardwh on Jan 19, 2017

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