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Stages of Labour and Birth

Stages of Labour and Birth

Stages of Labour and birth  

 

The stages of  labour are a natural process. Lets have a look at what to expect during the three stages of labour  and what you can do to support your comfort.

 

Every mothers labour is unique and special, even from one pregnancy to the next.  Sometimes the stages of labour can take just a few hours, in other cases, labour can last a couple of days.  You won’t know how labour and childbirth will unfold until it happens. You can prepare, however, by understanding the typical sequence of events.

Stage 1: Early labour and active labour

 

 The first stage of labour begins when you start to feel regular contractions.  Contractions  cause the cervix to open (dilate) and soften, shorten and thin (effacement).  This allows your baby to move into the birth canal.  The first stage is the longest of the three stages of labour  and it’s actually divided into two phases of its own — early labour (latent phase) and active labour.

Early labour

During early labour, your cervix dilates and effaces. You’ll feel mild, irregular contractions.

As your cervix begins to open, you might notice a clear, pink or slightly bloody discharge from your vagina.  This is likely the mucus plug that blocks the cervical opening during pregnancy.

For first-time mums, the average length of early labour varies from hours to days. It’s often shorter for second or third deliveries.

Until your contractions increase in frequency and intensity, it’s up to you how you manage early labour.  For many women, early labor isn’t particularly uncomfortable. Try to stay relaxed, you could:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Try breathing or relaxation techniques taught in childbirth class
  • Change positions

Your midwife will instruct you on when to leave for the hospital.  If your water breaks or you experience significant vaginal bleeding, call your midwife right away.

 

Active labour

During active labour, your cervix will dilate from 6 centimeters to 10 cm. Your contractions will become stronger, closer together and more regular. Your legs might cramp, and you might feel nauseated.  You might feel your waters break and you may experience increasing pressure in your back.  If you haven’t headed to the hospital yet then now is the time.

If you want it ask for pain medication, your midwife will support you to make the best choice for you and your baby.

Active labour often lasts four to eight hours or more. On average, your cervix will dilate at approximately one centimeter per hour.

Unless you need to be in a specific position to allow for close monitoring of you and your baby, consider these ways to aid your comfort during active labour:

  • Change positions
  • Roll on a large rubber ball (birthing ball)
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • Take a walk, stopping to breathe through contractions
  • Have a gentle massage between contractions
  • Try breathing and relaxation techniques to combat your growing discomfort. Use what you learned in childbirth class or ask your midwife for suggestions.

If you need to have a C-section, having food in your stomach can lead to complications. If your midwife thinks you might need a C-section,  she might recommend small amounts of clear liquids, such as water, ice chips, popsicles and juice, instead of a large, solid meal.

The final part of active labour can be particularly intense and painful. Contractions will come close together and can last 60 to 90 seconds. You’ll experience pressure in your lower back and rectum. Tell your midwife if you feel the urge to push.

If you want to push but you’re not fully dilated, your midewife might ask you to hold back.  Pushing too soon could make you tired and cause your cervix to swell, which might delay delivery. Pant or blow your way through the contractions.

Stage 2: The birth of your baby

 

You’ll deliver your baby during the second stage of labour.  It can take from a few minutes up to a few hours or more to push your baby into the world.  It might take longer for first-time mums and women who’ve had an epidural.

Your midwife will ask you to bear down during each contraction or tell you when to push.  Or you might be asked to push when you feel the need.   When you push, don’t hold tension in your face. Bear down and concentrate on pushing where it counts.  If possible, experiment with different positions until you find one that feels best.  You can push while squatting, sitting, kneeling — even on your hands and knees. 

At some point, you might be asked to push more gently or not at all.  Slowing down gives your vaginal tissues time to stretch rather than tear.  To stay motivated, you might ask to feel the baby’s head between your legs or see it in a mirror. 

After your baby’s head is delivered, the rest of the baby’s body will follow shortly.  His or her airway will be cleared if necessary and your midwife will then cut the umbilical cord.

Stage 3: Delivery of the placenta

 

After your baby is born, you’ll likely feel a great sense of relief.  You might hold the baby in your arms or on your abdomen.  Cherish the moment.  But a lot is still happening.  During the third stage of labour, you will deliver the placenta.

The placenta is typically delivered in five to 30 minutes, but the process can last as long as an hour.  You’ll continue to have mild contractions but they’ll be close together and less painful.  You’ll be asked to push one more time to deliver the placenta.  You might be given medication before or after the placenta is delivered to encourage uterine contractions and minimize bleeding. 

Your midwife will examine the placenta to make sure it’s intact.  Any remaining fragments must be removed from the uterus to prevent bleeding and infection. If you’re interested, ask to see the placenta.  After you deliver the placenta, your uterus will continue to contract to help it return to its normal size.

Your midwife will also determine whether you need stitches to repair any tears of your vaginal region.  If you don’t have anesthesia, you’ll receive an injection of local anesthetic in the area to be stitched.

By now your focus has likely shifted to your baby. You might be oblivious to what’s going on around you, relax, try breast-feeding your baby and enjoy your new precious bundle. 

The NCT have written a list of essential items to pack in your hospital bag.  Why not check it out here.   What to pack?

If you would like details regarding a maternity photoshoot then please follow the link below, alternatively you can contact me via the contact me form.

 

Back to blog home >

Slice of Life Photography

Specialising in Baby Photoshoots, Wedding Photography and creating stunning Fairy Photography.

The purpose built garden photography studio near Spalding, Lincolnshire is easily accessible from Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne, Boston, and Kings Lynn

Address

Whaplode
Spalding
Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

Telephone

07545 778016
Pregnancy 3rd trimester

Pregnancy 3rd trimester

Pregnancy 3rd trimester  

Welcome to a series of posts that will take you through the journey of pregnancy.  We will explore the changes your body will make during each trimester and how your baby is developing and growing.  If you are here I guess it is likely that your pregnancy journey has started and you want to be prepared for what lies ahead.  I hope that these features will go some way to preparing you for the next 9 months.

The final stage of pregnacy, the pregnancy 3rd trimester starts around 28 weeks and lasts until baby is delivered around 40 weeks.   30% of mother’s labours go over 40 weeks, and doctors will look to induce labour around 42 weeks if it has not began naturally.

What happens to you during the pregnancy 3rd trimester

 

As your round ligaments (which support your lower abdomen) stretch to accommodate your growing bump, you may feel cramps or sharp pain. There’s not much you can do other than take it easy.

You’ll feel more tired this trimester because of the demands  that pregnancy is putting on your body. Eat well, little and often and stay active if you can.

In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your uterus will push your stomach and its contents upward, causing persistent Heartburn.

You will begin to experience Brazton Hicks contractions.  Your body’s way of preparing for labor, you’ll start to feel these irregular practice contractions now until real labor starts.

As the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens your joints and your growing belly pulls your center of gravity forward, you may start to have an achy back, try to put your feet up when you can.

Thanks to pregnancy hormones, your dreams may be more vivid than ever as you near your due date.

Your hormones are on overdrive, your belly is throwing you off balance and you’re more forgetful than ever.

Your body’s warming up to feed your baby and you may begin to expeience leaky breasts.

 

Baby’s development during the 3rd trimester

 

Baby will get a whole lot larger in the third trimester, growing from about 2 1/2 pounds and 16 inches long in week 28 of pregnancy to between 6 and 9 pounds and 19 to 22 inches long in week 40. 

As your baby transforms cartilage to bone in months 7 and 8, he’ll be getting all of her calcium from you so make sure you consume plenty of calcium rich food and drinks. 

By week 32 of pregnancy, baby’s skin will become opaque. In week 36, fat continues to accumulate as your baby sheds his vernix (the waxy substance that protects his skin from your amniotic fluid) and lanugo (the hairy coat that keeps him warm in there).

In the final weeks of pregnancy, baby’s first poop (meconium) consisting mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo — starts to build up in baby’s intestines.

Your baby’s touch receptors will be fully developed around week 29. By week 31 of pregnancy, your baby will get signals from all five senses, he will be able to see light and dark, will taste what you eat and be able to hear the sound of your voice.  

In the third trimester your baby’s brain will grow faster than ever, test-driving some nifty skills including blinking, dreaming and regulating his own body temperature. 

Around week 34 baby’s body turns southward, settling into a heads-down, bottom-up position.  If your baby remains stubbornly in the breech positionyour doctor will likely attempt to manually turn baby around week 37.

Enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy and treasure your beautiful bump.  Rest up and relax as baby will be here before you know it.

If you would like details regarding a maternity photoshoot then please follow the link below, alternatively you can contact me via the contact me form.

 

Back to blog home >

Slice of Life Photography

Specialising in Baby Photoshoots, Wedding Photography and creating stunning Fairy Photography.

The purpose built garden photography studio near Spalding, Lincolnshire is easily accessible from Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne, Boston, and Kings Lynn

Address

Whaplode
Spalding
Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

Telephone

07545 778016
Pregnancy 2nd trimester

Pregnancy 2nd trimester

Pregnancy 2nd trimester  

Welcome to a series of posts that will take you through the journey of pregnancy.  We will explore the changes your body will make during each trimester and how your baby is developing and growing.  If you are here I guess it is likely that your pregnancy journey has started and you want to be prepared for what lies ahead.  I hope that these features will go some way to preparing you for the next 9 months.

Next up is the pregnacy 2nd trimester.  This takes us from week 13 through to 27 weeks pregnant. 

What happens to you during the pregnancy 2nd trimester

 

During the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, symptoms that you may have experienced during the first trimester will begin to subside. Many women report that nausea and fatigue begin to reduce and they find they are more able to  enjoy their pregnancy.

The following changes and symptoms may occur:

Your uterus will expands and your abdomen will become larger.

You may experience dizziness or lightheadedness due to lower blood pressure

You will begin feeling the baby move

Your appetite will increase and consequently some weight gain.  You can expect to gain 1lb a week

The extra weight you’ve gained in the last few months is starting to put pressure on your back, making it achy and sore. Try to  ease the pressure, sit up straight and use a chair that provides good back support. Sleep on your side with a pillow tucked between your legs. Avoid picking up or carrying anything heavy and wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes with good arch support. 

You may start to develop stretch marks on the stomach, breast, thighs, or buttocks

You may develop varicose veins and hemorrhoids which, fortunately, should shrink or go away after pregnancy if you didn’t have them before you conceived.

Your skin begins to change, such as darkening of the skin around your nipples, or patches of darker skin

You may experienc swelling of the ankles or hands

Leg cramps usually start in the second trimester and last through the third.  These are  due not only to hormones and weight but also a possible shortage of calcium or magnesium.

Baby’s development during the 2nd trimester

 

By around week 16, baby’s first tiny hairs are starting to sprout, and by week 22 baby has got eyelashes and eyebrows, too. Baby’s skin is now covered in lanugo (a downy “fur coat” that keeps him warm until he builds up more fat in the third trimester) and, by week 19, vernix caseosa  (a greasy layer of oil and dead skin cells that shield his skin from acidic amniotic fluid) — both of which will shed before birth.

Baby’s digestive system was fully formed by the end of the first trimester. So now baby is starting to suck and swallow in preparation for life outside of the womb.  He can even taste the foods you eat via your amniotic fluid. Baby’s waste systems are working hard too: Although he still gets his nutrition via your placenta, all of that swallowing means he’ll be doing plenty of peeing.

Baby’s ears and eyes are moving into their correct positions. By week 22, baby’s developing senses mean he’s starting to smell, see and hear, and those little eyes are beginning to open.

By wwk 17, baby’s heart is no longer beating spontaneously, as his brain is now regulating his heartbeat.  In week 25, capillaries begin forming to carry oxygenated blood through his body.

By week 26 your baby’s brain will start blinking those little eyelids.

If you would like details regarding a maternity photoshoot then please follow the link below, alternatively you can contact me via the contact me form.

 

Back to blog home >

Slice of Life Photography

Specialising in Baby Photoshoots, Wedding Photography and creating stunning Fairy Photography.

The purpose built garden photography studio near Spalding, Lincolnshire is easily accessible from Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne, Boston, and Kings Lynn

Address

Whaplode
Spalding
Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

Telephone

07545 778016

Pregnancy 1st trimester

Pregnancy 1st trimester

Pregnancy 1st trimester  

Welcome to a series of posts that will take you through the journey of pregnancy.  We will explore the changes your body will make during each trimester and how your baby is developing and growing.  If you are here I guess it is likely that your pregnancy journey has started and you want to be prepared for what lies ahead.  I hope that these features will go some way to preparing you for the next 9 months.

First up we are going to look at the first 13 weeks, the pregnancy 1st trimester.  This takes us from conception through to your first scan and many of you won’t know you are pregnant until you are half way through this stage.

A lot happens for you during the pregnancy 1st trimester

 

Morning sickness – Unfortunately the name is missleading and it doesn’t just strike in the morning.  Morning sickness typically starts about week 6 of pregnancy. Ginger tea or biscuits might help, as can small but frequent meals. If it’s severe, you might want to consider talking to your doctor about medications to treat the symptoms of pregnancy-related nausea.

You might be wondering where your old boobs went by about week 6. As they become tender and tingly and begin to grow.

 You may feel up, then down, then up again by week around 7

Tirdness and fatigue is very common during the 1st trimester. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone rise. In high and this can make your sleepy. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production may team up to sap your energy during your pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, you might find yourself  craving or turning up your nose at certain foods.  Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, this can be explained by hormonal changes – especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are at their peak.

You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder.

Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Eatting small, frequent meals and avoiding fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy or fried foods should help to reduce heartburn symptoms.

High levels of the hormone progesterone can slow the movement of food through your digestive system, causing constipation. To relieve constipation, include plenty of fibre in your diet and drink lots of fluids, especially water and prune or other fruit juices. Regular physical activity can also helps.

 

Baby’s development during the 1st trimester

 

During the 1st trimester your baby changes from a single fertilized cell (a zygote), to the embryo that implants itself into the wall of your womb, to a  bundle of growing limbs and body systems the size of a peach.   Here is a list of the main things happening in the pregnancy 1st trimester.

By about week 6, baby starts to grow arms, legs, hands and feet — and fingers and toes around week 10.

Skin begins forming between weeks 5 and 8, with hair follicles and nail beds starting to develop around week 11.

Around week 8, your baby’s intestines will begin forming, and your baby will have already gone through two sets of kidneys (with the third and final set on its way!).

Your baby will have touch receptors on his face around week 8. By week 12, he’ll have receptors on his genitals, palms and the soles of his feet.

The Optic nerves and lenses  within the eyes begin to form by week 4, with the retina beginning to form around week 8.

By week 5, the tube that will become your baby’s heart begins to beat. It will become stronger and more regular — and you’ll be able to hear it from around week 9 or 10.

By about week 8 of pregnancy, your baby’s brain will be wiggling his developing limbs.

Your baby will have developed taste buds that connect to his brain by about week 8 — but he won’t beable to taste anyting until his taste pores develop.  

Things you need to do during your 1st trimester

 

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, let your doctor know so that you can book your first appointment with the midwife.

Your first antenatal appointment, your booking appointment, may happen any time between 8 and 12 weeks.  Your booking appointment usually takes one to two hours.  Your midwife needs to get a clear idea of your health, your partner’s health and both of your families’ medical history. So be prepared for plenty of questions!

Start taking a daily folic acid supplement straight away. Folic acid is essential for  protecting  your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida.
You need a 400 microgram (mcg) supplement of folic acid (vitamin B9). You can buy these over the counter from pharmacies or supermarkets.

A healthy, balanced diet will make sure that you get all the nutrients you and your developing baby need.  You don’t need extra calories in your first trimester or second trimester. But you will need to avoid certain foods because they may contain bacteria, parasites or toxins that could harm your baby. This includes some cheeses and unpasteurised dairy products, raw or undercooked meat, liver and pate, and raw shellfish.

Your first scan, the dating scan will take place between 12 and 14 weeks.  The sonographer will check your baby’s heartbeat and tell you when your baby is due, based on measurements

But most importantly sit back, relax, get plenty of rest and enjoy this magical time.  

If you would like details regarding a maternity photoshoot then please follow the link below, alternatively you can contact me via the contact me form.

 

Back to blog home >

Slice of Life Photography

Specialising in Baby Photoshoots, Wedding Photography and creating stunning Fairy Photography.

The purpose built garden photography studio near Spalding, Lincolnshire is easily accessible from Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne, Boston, and Kings Lynn

Address

Whaplode
Spalding
Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

Telephone

07545 778016

Must have baby photos

Must have baby photos

10 must have baby Photos 

You’ve just had a baby!  That tiny tiny bundle will grow and change so fast yet you won’t even notice it happening and before too long they won’t be a curly little newborn anymore.  Weather you own a compact camera, camera phone or an all singing all dancing DSLR there are some key photos you really must capture whilst they are still super tiny!    So here are my top 10 must have photos for you to capture during those early weeks.

1. Fresh 48

Pictures of your newborn within the first few hours will be priceless.  You may choose to hire a birth photographer or book a professional fresh 48 session but if not pass your camera to dad or visitors and ask them to capture some very early pictures of your little one in the hospital whilst you rest. 

2. With Big Brother or Big sister 

Pictures with siblings will be so precious.  The look of wonder on your toddler’s face as they meet the baby for the first time, the love in their eyes as they place a gentle kiss on babies cheek!  Moments that you will treasure forever.

3. The details

Make sure you capture those ten little fingers and that cute button nose.  Tiny details like the fine hair on baby’s back won’t last long so grab your phone or camera and macro lens and record these details.  

4. The nursery

All those hours lovingly painting and carefully folding baby clothes.  Make sure you capture this beautiful space!  Before long it will become Peppa Pig, Unicorns or space ships instead!

5. With special Items

I’m sure you will have lots of wonderful gifts given to you but remember to photograph them too.  A special blanket knitted by great grandma, babies snuggle blanket or special bear!  They won’t love these items forever so record it now for prosperity. 

 6.  Windy smiles 

As a newborn photographer I am always delighted when I am able to capture a windy baby smile.  Be ready after baby has been fed and settled to sleep to capture that priceless moment.

 

7. Feeding

Weather your baby is having a bottle or your trying your hand at breastfeeding remember to record this precious time.  A photo of the closeness and bond that you will develop during the many hours of feeds is a wonderful keepsake to treasure.

 

8.  With Daddy  

That moment a man holds his newborn son or daughter in his arms for the first time and falls in love is priceless.  Capturing the love between father and baby is something that you will both treasure.

 

9. With Mummy

As busy Mums it is all to easy for us to be rushing around and doing things, generally we’re the one that grabs the camera or phone and snaps the pictures of the children.  It is important to be present in photos too so pass your camera or phone to Dad and make sure that the bond between you and baby is recorded too.

 

10. Family Photo 

And finally don’t forget to capture your first photo as a growing family .  Snuggle up on the sofa and capture everyone together.  

 

I hope these great suggestions of must have baby photos help you to capture some priceless memories of your newborn baby.  These natural precious family photos will be wonderful memories that you will look back on for years to come and are the perfect compliment to a newborn photography session.

I will be holding a one day beginners photography training course in my Spalding photography studio on 15th Febuary 2020.  If you would like to learn how to get the best out of your camera and capture great family photos.

Would you like to know more about my Newborn phtography sessions or the Beginners photography training?

If you would like further information about services available at Slice of Life Photography please get in touch via the form below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Back to blog home >

Slice of Life Photography

Specialising in Baby Photoshoots, Wedding Photography and creating stunning Fairy Photography.

The purpose built garden photography studio near Spalding, Lincolnshire is easily accessible from Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne, Boston, and Kings Lynn

Address

Whaplode
Spalding
Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

Telephone

07545 778016