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Stages of Normal Vaginal Delivery

Sep 29, 2022

Normal Vaginal Delivery

Normal vaginal delivery is the childbirth process that takes place automatically with the help of hormone stimulation, even without any medical treatment. But still nowadays, to ease up the pain and reduce the delivery process time, relevant medications are used.

In other words, we can say a normal vaginal delivery is a completely natural delivery. The entire process of labor and delivery depends on the mother’s physical, mental, and emotional strength. 

Your doctor may provide external support when they find any complications and emergencies during delivery.

Stages of Normal Vaginal Delivery

During the normal childbirth process, you may undergo three major stages. They are-

1. Cervix dilation and effacement

This is the first stage of the normal vaginal delivery process during labor. The cervix should be soft, thin, and stretchable for the baby to come out through the vagina. This stage may remain nearly for 12-13 hours for a woman if delivering for the first time and this stage is said to be the longest phase.

While delivering the next babies in the future, the elongated time may be reduced to 7-8 hours. Uterus contractions occur to dilate the cervix opening. 

The three sub-stages are-

Early labor: 

Initially, the cervix of the pregnant woman may open to about 4 centimeters. This stage does not feel much pain and hence you may be at home itself during this early labor stage. You may relax, drink plenty of fluids frequently, eat easily digestible foods, and keep monitoring the contractions counter

As time goes on, the contractions may develop stronger and the intervals may be reduced, also the intensity of the pain increases. These levels of cervix dilation and effacement indicate that you have entered into the next stage of labor.

Active labor: 

At this stage, your cervix may open to about 4-7 centimeters and now you are to be taken to the hospital. Such contractions may occur in an interval of 3 to 4 minutes that lasts for about 60 seconds and these contractions indicate that your cervix is opening faster. 

Even your water may break like a gush of fluid as the labor progresses. Once your water is broken, the contractions may speed up and the pain increases heavily. You should be relaxing and receive gentle massages from your partner if your doctor permits him. Relaxing in between the contractions is necessary to widen the cervix opening.

Moving to the next stage: 

At this stage, your cervix may open to about 7-10 centimeters. As the cervix opening reaches its extreme, the pain may increase to its peak and this is the most stressful part of your labor.  The frequency of the contractions may occur every two to three minutes and remain for up to 90 seconds.

During this stage, the feeling of a strong urge occurs automatically which makes you push your baby as there will be pressure in the rectal and the vaginal area when the baby's head slowly drops down toward the vaginal opening. Once your doctor tells you to push, you may start pushing as much as you can keeping your mind relaxed and breathing slowly. 

2. Pushing and Birth time

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Once the cervical opening completely widens, the second stage of labor begins which is the pushing stage. At this stage, the contractions continue to be more strong and frequently help to push the baby through the birth canal. Your doctor keeps monitoring your baby's level from the vaginal opening and asks you to push forcibly. You may feel intense pressure similar to the urge during the bowel movement.

At this point, your doctor may do an episiotomy. It is an incision made between the vaginal and rectum area to widen the opening so it will be much easier for the baby to come out smoothly. 

3. Delivering the placenta

After your baby comes out, the contractions may continue to push out the placenta a few minutes after delivery, and this process is known as afterbirth. Also, your doctor or medical attendee may gently massage your abdomen to help with the placental separation.

After a few hours, your medical attendee may ask you to feed your baby to monitor the baby’s nursing capability. Mostly, every baby may nurse quickly, but some babies may take some time. On the other hand, when you nurse your baby, it may help the uterus to contract and decrease the amount of bleeding.


Related: How to Increase the Chances of Normal Delivery?

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