DELIVERY - VAGINAL AND CESARIAN
Physical changes indicating labor include lightening—whenbaby lowers in the pelvis—mucus plug changes, contractions, and cervical effacement and dilation.
Labor and delivery is both exciting and scary. Knowing what to expect during labor can alleviate some of the stress.
WHEN DOES LABOR BEGIN?
Labor begins when the cervix begins to open (dilate) and thins (effacement). Contractions—the muscles of the uterus tighten—occur at regular intervals, causing the cervix to thin and open. The abdomen becomes hard during contractions. Between contractions, the uterus relaxes and the abdomen becomes soft.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I'M IN LABOR?
Many women have a number of pre-labor signs: backache, diarrhea, weight loss, and nesting, that indicate that their body is getting ready for labor. It is unknown what causes labor to start, but several hormonal and physical changes may point to the beginning of labor.
TYPES OF DELIVERY
Vaginal delivery is the most common type of birth. Sometimes a cesarean delivery is necessary for the safest outcome for you and your baby. A cesarean delivery may be necessary if:
- Your baby is not in the head-down position
- Your baby may be too large to pass through the pelvis
- Your baby is in distress
- The placenta (the sac in the uterus that supplies nutrition and oxygen to the fetus) has blocked the cervix
- You have health issues
- An emergency situation
Most often, the need for a cesarean delivery is not determined until after labor begins.