It is not known what triggers the onset of labour, but it is thought to be influenced by the hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for causing uterine contractions.
Some of the signs and symptoms of going into labour may include:
Please call our maternity ward on 55 300 726 if you think you might be in labour.
Labour is divided into 3 stages.
The second stage of labour starts when your cervix is fully dilated and you will usually soon have a strong urge to push because of the pressure your baby is placing on your pelvic area. This is the time to push your baby out.
There are a few different positions you can be in for the delivery and you can learn about these during your antenatal classes.
As your baby’s head descends, your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) begins to stretch (this often feels like a burning sensation) – this is when your baby’s head is ‘crowning’.
You may need an episiotomy (a cut through the perineum) when for some reason, related to your baby or you, the second stage needs to be shortened. Mostly this will not be known until you get to the second stage.
At the birth of your baby, you may like to guide your baby onto your abdomen or chest so you can enjoy your first cuddle.
Your baby’s umbilical cord will need to be cut. Your partner or support person may like to do this.
Whether you decide to use pain relief during labour, there are a number of techniques that will help you be more relaxed, which can help you to cope with the pain.
The choice of pain relief is yours. The options are:
This is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. Gas and air won’t remove all the pain but it can help to reduce it and make it more bearable. Many women like it because it’s easy to use and they control it themselves.
2. TENS machine
A TENS machine is a device that delivers small pulses of electrical current that can assist in reducing pain during labour.
Opioids are painkillers that work to decrease your perception of pain.
An epidural is an injection that numbs the nerves that carry pain from the birth canal to the brain. For most women, an epidural gives complete pain relief.
Dr Sem encourages you to discuss pain relief options during pregnancy.
Obstetric forceps are sometimes needed to help deliver the baby.
Ventouse is a suction cup that fits on the baby’s head and is sometimes used instead of obstetric forceps.
If your baby requires either forceps or ventouse to help them be born, Dr Sem will discuss this with you at the time.
A Caesarean is an operation where an incision (a cut) is made through the abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby. When there is a complication during labour, an emergency caesarean may be required to safely deliver the baby.
Some of the reasons for an unplanned (emergency) caesarean birth include that:
Caesarean sections are usually done under spinal or epidural anaesthesia, however when your baby needs to be born very quickly, general anaesthesia maybe required.
Your partner or support person will be able to accompany you during the caesarean, unless a general anaesthesia is required.
Mostly labour will begin by itself, but if there is a risk to the baby or the mother, then labour may be induced.
There are different methods used to induce labour. These include:
Your labour will not be induced without your consent and Dr Sem will fully discuss the process of induction with you before any intervention.