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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

A pregnancy story by Sophie

A pregnancy story by Sophie

Pregnancy story by Sophie 

Welcome to the fourth and final post written for you by real Mum’s to be.  Each article will share the pregnancy story of one Mum to be, who will each share their labour and delievary experience when baby arrives.  I hope that these real life accounts of pregnacy will help other expectant Mum’s to feel secure in the knowledge that the things they experience and feel during their pregnancy are all normal events and emotions and part of the journey to motherhood.

Sophie’s Pregnancy story

Today we meet Sophie, a first time Mummy to be.

On 19th February is where my life changed, for the better – I found out I was pregnant. At first I had so many emotions going through my head. The main worry I had was, what if it happens again? Back in October I had a miscarriage which messed me up emotionally. I went in for my 12 week scan to find out I had an empty pregnancy sack, this was the most heart breaking news. I kept thinking what did I do wrong, was it something I ate, am I not meant to be mum etc. I have always wanted to be a mum and to have that taken away was awful. 

When I found out I was pregnant again I just wanted to cry. I wasn’t as happy as I was before. It was only a few weeks before I found out I was pregnant where I told my partner I wasn’t ready to try again – little did I know I already had a baby inside me. My partner was brilliant and tried to reassure that everything will be okay and no matter what happens, we have each other. He really has been my rock.

6 weeks into the pregnancy I kept getting stomach pains. After speaking to the early pregnancy department, they scheduled me a scan a few days later. Having to wait for my name to be called out felt like a lifetime. I was so worried and was expecting them to tell me its bad news again. During the scan they confirmed there is a baby and it is around 6 weeks old. Everything looked normal and they couldn’t see any problems. I was advised it will just be growing pains and to take paracetamol to help with the pain. They said I shouldn’t be worried as it all looks okay but, that is easier said than done. 

Up until my 12 week scan, I was still paranoid every day. Being careful what I ate and what I did. I kept saying to myself to not get too happy and attached as it could happen again. Yeah okay this time I have seen a baby but, what’s to say something else might go wrong? I didn’t feel like I could handle going through it again. I thought to myself that once I see the baby in the scan again, I will be less paranoid. Sitting in the waiting room at the hospital made me feel so sick. The memories of me waiting here before thinking everything was okay and to learn it wasn’t, got me scared. After being called in and the sonographer confirmed the baby is fine, I thought I should be relieved. Hearing that everything is fine didn’t make my paranoia get any better. I was still worried and thinking of the worse. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy that everything was okay with the baby but I was just so scared. 

I decided to pretend that I was okay and happy. I thought that if I pretend everything is okay that I will then believe it and everything will be fine. I told close friends and family of the news and they were all happy for me. It is nice knowing I had other people around to help support me. 

After speaking to my midwife, she recommended I speak to my doctor about how I felt mentally. He then recommended I contact a couple of companies for counselling. I have now had a couple of sessions of 1 to 1 counselling to help me talk about my worries. It helps being able to speak to someone who doesn’t know me and won’t judge me for how I feel. Everyone is different and have their own ways of dealing with things but for me, I find counselling helpful. 

When it came to my 20 week scan, I wasn’t half as nervous as I was before. I was more nervous about finding out the sex this time. My partner and I told the sonographer we would like to know the sex in which; after a few moments of her checking a few things, she confirmed we will be having a baby boy. 

We are both so excited and starting to get ready for little man’s arrival. We have been thinking of names and also looking at cots, prams etc. I feel I can now focus on the good things and not have to worry that something will go wrong. I don’t want to let my paranoia get the better of me, I want to enjoy the pregnancy and make the most of it.

As I hit 31 weeks, I started to get itchy hands and feet. I discussed this with my doctor and midwife in which, after a few blood tests they have confirmed I have obstetric cholestasis. I am now having to have blood tests every week and have my baby monitored for his heart beat and movement. At first I was worried but; I have got my head around this and thought I am not the only woman to get this. They have prescribed me with cream and allergy tablets to help with the itchiness. Even though this meant that I will not be able to get my water birth I hoped for as I am now consultant led, I know that I will be looked after in the hospital and I can get through anything with my partner.

I certainly feel ready to meet my little boy as the tiredness and aching back/neck kicks in. I only have a couple more weeks at work and then my maternity leave starts – I can’t wait!  I still need to pack my hospital bag but I will get around to this soon! The nursery still needs to be decorated but, as he will be sleeping with us for the first 6 months, we are not rushing to get this done. 

Having my partner and my parents with me through this journey has made it easier for me. I still get paranoid but, with the support of everyone I know I can get through this. Besides, having up and down days are the joys of our hormones in pregnancy! Bring on the labour

Thank you to Sophie for sharing her pregnancy journey.

Sophie used Insight Healthcare to access counselling  which is free to use with NHS – https://www.insighthealthcare.org/our-services/talking-therapies/types-of-therapies/counselling/ 

Sophie has since sent me a message to let me know there little man, Rowan arrived safely on  8th October.  Isn’t he just beautiflul?

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