Labour & Delivery
Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the ending of a pregnancy by one or more babies leaving a woman's uterus by vaginal passage or Caesarean section
Ask anything about labour & delivery
How can you tell when your baby has dropped?
At first glance, the phrase “when your baby drops” is possibly alarming, especially to a woman expecting her first ever baby. Who’s going to drop your baby? How could that be a good thing? What can I do to stop this from happening? After all, once you reach the last month of pregnancy, people may ask you whether or not your baby has dropped. This article will answer all of the questions you have about your baby dropping, as well as how it affects your pregnancy and impending labor. What does baby dropping exactly mean? No one is predicting that your baby will fall out of you, nor that they will be dropped on the floor after they’re born. When your baby drops it means their head has come down into your pelvis, still safely tucked behind your cervix and inside the protective amniotic sack. When will my baby drop? This typically happens around 2 to 4 weeks before your baby will be born, although since due dates are so arbitrary, this can really mean any time after 36 weeks of pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy, your baby fills your uterus, and there isn’t much room for them to move around anymore. Your baby’s head moving into your pelvis is a good sign that your baby and your body are getting ready for labor, but don’t grab your hospital bag yet! Labor could still be weeks, even an entire month away from the time you feel your baby drops, so wait for more certain signs of labor before getting too excited. What does it feel like when baby drops? How can I tell? There are many symptoms that can accompany your baby dropping. It won’t be a sudden thing, most likely, but more gradual over the course of a few weeks or days as your baby slips further into your pelvis to get ready for labor. This process, also called “lightening”, aids in stretching your pelvic floor muscles so that when labor does begin your body is more prepared to guide your baby out with the gentle squeeze of your uterine muscle contractions. Content source Featured image source
Is there a way to help my water to break at home?
Women can get their water to break with the help of a doctor, but it is not safe for them to attempt to break their water at home. However, there are many natural methods that women can use to encourage labor to begin once the pregnancy has reached full term. Can you make your water break at home? There are no proven safe ways for a woman to break her water at home. It can be dangerous if the water breaks before natural labor begins or before the baby is fully developed. During the natural process of labor, the water breaks when the baby's head puts pressure on the amniotic sac, causing it to rupture. Women will notice either a gush or a trickle of water coming out of the vagina. Many doctors say that women must give birth within 12–24 hours of the water breaking. After this time, a doctor may recommend a cesarean delivery to ensure the safety of the woman and the baby. This is because it is easier for bacteria to get into the uterus after the water breaks. This increases the risk of infection, which is a major complication that puts both the woman and the baby at risk. It may also make the birth more difficult. It is particularly dangerous to use artificial instruments to rupture the amniotic sac, as this can introduce bacteria into the uterus and cause infections. It could also injure the baby. How to induce labor safely? The end of pregnancy can be exhausting. People believe that there are many ways to induce labor, from eating spicy food to going for long walks. There is little evidence to support most of these ideas. However, the following methods may safely help to induce labor, if the woman's body is ready. Women should only consider using these techniques to encourage the natural onset of labor once the pregnancy has reached full term. They should also confirm first with a doctor that their pregnancy is a low risk. The following tips can help you induce labor: Have sex: Having sex, particularly vaginal penetration, may help to start labour. It is not clear whether this is due to hormonal changes, physical stimulation, or something else. A 2014 study found a link between having sex during the last week of pregnancy and going into labor. Women whose water has already broken should not have sex as this can increase the risk of infection. Try nipple stimulation: Nipple stimulation may be a natural way to get the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that plays a key role in both labor and breast-feeding. Learn more about how nipple stimulation can induce labor. Eat some dates: A small 2011 study asked women to eat six dates per day during the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy. The researchers found that 96 percent of the women who ate dates had spontaneous labor, compared to 79 percent of those who did not. The women who ate dates also had greater dilation of their cervix during labour. Content source Featured image source
Water breaking: What it feels like.
When your water breaks, it means your amniotic sac has ruptured and labour is imminent (if not already under way). But what does this actually feel like? Does it feel like a pop? Is it a big gush or a slow leak? The answer: Any of the above. Everyone's experience is different. Here's what some moms had to say: 1. The gush or splash For some moms, the water really does gush out – either in the hospital bed or in a more surprising setting: "A huge gush of fluid went all over the floor." "A huge rush of water came from deep inside. Weirdest feeling!" "It felt like a 5-gallon bucket of water had spilled out. With the next five contractions, more water came gushing out." "Flood!" "I got up and was walking into the kitchen when a massive amount of water gushed from between my legs." "An extreme gush – nothing like urinating. It didn't stop or slow down! Grossest feeling ever." "It was like someone put a hose on full blast between my legs." 2. The pop Many women feel a popping sensation when their water breaks. For others, the pop is audible: "There was a pop, like someone cracking a knuckle, and then a gush." "I heard a pop, then all of a sudden a large gush and a bunch of leaking." "I felt a popping sensation, followed by an immediate gush of very warm fluid that soaked through my pants. A little more would leak out every time I moved." "I'd already had an epidural and was lying in the hospital bed. It felt like a water balloon popped between my legs." "A water balloon popping. It didn't hurt; it just was suddenly very wet." 3. The trickle Many women experience trickling or leaking instead of the more dramatic gushing: "I felt a warm trickle of fluid down my legs." "It was so slow that I thought it was sweat or normal discharge." "I seriously thought I had wet my pants. I went to the bathroom three times and changed my clothes before realizing that I wasn't suffering from pregnancy incontinence. It didn't happen like in the movies." "I went for a walk at the hospital to relieve my contractions, and at one point I bent over to throw up. I thought the pressure of throwing up had made me pee – very embarrassing. It turned out that the pressure had actually made my water break." "I felt really wet, and it was slowly leaking. Over time, it began to leak more and more until it started gushing." 4. The in-betweener Not a dramatic gush, but not just a little trickle either – some women go for the middle ground: "It felt like small gushes, like when you first start your period." "Imagine a heavy period dripping down your leg." "I was shopping at a big store, and when I turned, I felt a small gush. It felt like period discharge." "It wasn't a trickle but not a gush either." 5. The feeling of relief Many moms feel a sense of relief when their water breaks. For some, their labor then gets more intense: "Relief! That's when it was time to push." "A huge pop, then relief from some of the pressure." "I only remember relief for a brief second and then more pain." 6. The unnoticed break Some women aren't aware of their water breaking: "I couldn't feel it because I had already had my epidural." "I didn't even know it broke until I realized I was wet." "I didn't know until I woke up and went to the bathroom and my underwear was wet." "I didn't feel it because my baby was crowning." "I didn't know what had happened. I got up and the chair was wet. I still didn't feel anything in particular except that afterward, the contractions hurt more." "I didn't realize it had broken until I saw the wetness on the hospital bed." "I felt nothing. I just noticed some leaking during contractions, and the nurse confirmed that it had broken, probably during an internal exam." Content source Featured image source
What causes low amniotic fluid during pregnancy
The amniotic fluid is part of the baby’s life support system. It protects your baby and aids in the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and digestive system. Amniotic fluid is produced soon after the amniotic sac forms at about 12 days after conception. It is first made up of water that is provided by the mother, and then around 20 weeks fetal urine becomes the primary substance. As the baby grows he or she will move and tumble in the womb with the help of the amniotic fluid. In the second trimester the baby will begin to breathe and swallow the amniotic fluid. In some cases the amniotic fluid may measure too low or too high. If the measurement of amniotic fluid is too low it is called oligohydramnios. If the measurement of amniotic fluid is too high it is called polyhydramnios. What is oligohydramnios? Oligohydramnios is the condition of having too little amniotic fluid. Doctors can measure the amount of fluid through a few different methods, most commonly through amniotic fluid index (AFI) evaluation or deep pocket measurements. If an AFI shows a fluid level of less than 5 centimeters (or less than the 5th percentile), the absence of a fluid pocket 2-3 cm in depth, or a fluid volume of less than 500mL at 32-36 weeks gestation, then a diagnosis of oligohydramnios would be suspected. About 8% of pregnant women can have low levels of amniotic fluid, with about 4% being diagnosed with oligohydramnios. It can occur at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the last trimester. If a woman is past her due date by two weeks or more, she may be at risk for low amniotic fluid levels since fluids can decrease by half once she reaches 42 weeks gestation. Oligohydramnios can cause complications in about 12% of pregnancies that go past 41 weeks. What causes low amniotic fluid? Birth defects – Problems with the development of the kidneys or urinary tract which could cause little urine production, leading to low levels of amniotic fluid. Placental problems – If the placenta is not providing enough blood and nutrients to the baby, then the baby may stop recycling fluid. Leaking or rupture of membranes –This may be a gush of fluid or a slow constant trickle of fluid. This is due to a tear in the membrane. Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) can also result in low amniotic fluid levels. Post Date Pregnancy– A post date pregnancy (one that goes over 42 weeks) can have low levels of amniotic fluid, which could be a result of declining placental function. Maternal Complications– Factors such as maternal dehydration, hypertension, preeclampsia, diabetes, and chronic hypoxia can have an effect on amniotic fluid levels. What are the risks of having low amniotic fluid? The risks associated with oligohydramnios often depend on the gestation of the pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is essential for the development of muscles, limbs, lungs, and the digestive system. In the second trimester, the baby begins to breathe and swallow the fluid to help their lungs grow and mature. The amniotic fluid also helps the baby develop muscles and limbs by providing plenty of room to move around. If oligohydramnios is detected in the first half of pregnancy, the complications can be more serious and include: Compression of fetal organs resulting in birth defects Increased chance of miscarriage or stillbirth If oligohydramnios is detected in the second half of pregnancy, complications can include: Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) Preterm birth Labor complications such as cord compression, meconium stained fluid and cesarean delivery What treatments are available if I am experiencing low amniotic fluid? The treatment for low levels of amniotic fluid is based on gestational age. If you are not full term yet, your doctor will monitor you and your levels very closely. Tests such as non-stress and contraction stress test may be done to monitor your baby’s activity. If you are close to full term, then delivery is usually what most doctors recommend in situations of low amniotic fluid levels. Other treatments that may be used include: Amnio-infusion during labor through an intrauterine catheter. This added fluid helps with padding around the umbilical cord during delivery and is reported to help lower the chances of a cesarean delivery. Injection of fluid prior to delivery through amniocentesis. The condition of oligohydramnios is reported to often return within one week of this procedure, but it can aid in helping doctors visualize fetal anatomy and make a diagnosis. Maternal re-hydration with oral fluids or IV fluids has shown to help increase amniotic fluid levels. content source
Benefits of having a Normal Delivery
When one is pregnant, there are many questions that they undergo, one of them being what kind of delivery is better. There are two types of deliveries – one being normal delivery and the other being C – Section. Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of having a normal delivery Below are the benefits of a normal delivery- Babies come when they’re ready -If labor starts naturally, then you know that your child is fully developed and is ready to be born. The baby’s lungs and other major organs have finished maturing and your baby is able to survive without any medical interventions if born naturally. A baby delivered surgically could be at risk for prematurity, especially if there is a miscalculation in the due date. Babies born vaginally receive protective bacteria -One of the benefits of normal delivery is that when babies are born vaginally, they pick up the protective bacteria called microbiome from their moms as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria are helpful in building a strong immune system and help to protect the child from many illnesses. Lowered risk of respiratory problems -While passing through the vaginal canal, the compression of the baby’s thorax helps to expel the amniotic fluid. And with a natural delivery, there are various hormones that are released – these help to clear fluids from the baby’s lungs. Baby gets to breastfeed without much delay -In a normal delivery, the very first breastfeeding is not delayed much. Breastfeeding at the earliest has its own advantages. Plus the newborn’s urge to suck is the strongest in the first couple of hours after the birth and feeding section at the earliest helps the baby to latch properly. Better APGAR score -Babies born vaginally have a better APGAR score. As a C-section lacks natural stimulation and involves anesthesia, it can result in a lower APGAR score. Babies born via cesarean are 50% more likely to have lower APGAR scores than those born naturally. Apart from the benefits to the child, the mother also gains some advantages. Read below: Quick recovery -The recovery from a natural birth is almost immediate. Generally, a mother can stand up and care for herself and her baby without much assistance. Shorter hospital stays - If the natural birth was in a hospital, the mother can be discharged soon after birth. This has financial benefits also. Lesser postpartum pain - Postpartum pain is also lesser in a normal delivery, as you don’t have any big incision to be healed. Lower maternal mortality rates -Problems can arise in any birthing incident. But compared to C-section, vaginal birth has lower maternal mortality rates Natural delivery doesn’t affect future pregnancies -Since you had your child vaginally, there is no scar left over from a C-section. This means your further deliveries will have zero risks of tearing any uterine scars from a previous delivery. Sense of accomplishment -There is a sense of accomplishment that develops in women who give birth naturally. They feel that they have undergone all stages of labor and delivery and hence are stronger in their own way. Women who have normal delivery are extremely empowered and feel much more confident and are at a lower risk of having postpartum depression. Less blood loss or hemorrhage -Blood loss during C-section is much more compared to that for a vaginal delivery. Often blood transfusion is required during a C-section. No anesthesia side effects -Normal delivery doesn’t involve anesthesia and so has no risks caused by anesthesia as in a C-section. Anesthesia given can cause a lowering of blood pressure, nausea, headache, and confusion and in unfortunate cases even nerve damages and aspiration during surgery. Content Source Featured Image Source
How Electronic Fetal Heart Monitoring Test Is Done?
If you’re pregnant your doctor wants to make sure your baby is healthy and growing as he should. One of the ways she does that is to check the rate and rhythm of your baby’s heartbeat. Fetal heart monitoring is part of every pregnancy checkup. It’s combined with other tests for a closer look if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other conditions that could cause problems for you and your baby. Fetal heart rates also can help count your contractions and tell if you’re going into labor too early. How the Test Is Done Your doctor can monitor the baby’s heartbeat one of two ways. She can listen for and record the beats from your belly. Or once your water has broken and you’re in labor, she can thread a thin wire through your cervix and attach it to your baby’s head. From the outside: If your pregnancy is going normally, your doctor likely will check your baby’s heart rate with a hand-held device called a Doppler ultrasound. If you need it, your doctor might do a special test called a nonstress test, usually starting around 32 weeks of your pregnancy. It counts the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up during a 20-minute period. For the test, you'll lie down with a sensor belt around your belly. A machine will record the number of times the baby’s heart speeds up in a 20-minute stretch. If it’s fewer than 2, your doctor will run a longer test and try to wake the baby or make him stir with noise over your belly. Your doctor also may put you on a fetal heart rate monitor during your delivery. It can tell your doctor if the contractions are stressing your baby. If so, you might have to have your baby as soon as possible. From the inside: Once your water breaks and your cervix opens to prepare for birth, your doctor can run a wire called an electrode through it and into your womb. The wire attaches to your baby’s head and connects to a monitor. This gives a better reading than listening to his heartbeat from the outside. Content Source Featured Image Source