Labor And Delivery
When you are full-term and is ready to deliver your baby, you will go through labor. Labor and delivery are the processes of giving birth. During labor, the uterus contracts, and changes happen in the cervix leading to the opening of the uterus. This prepares a woman’s body to give birth. Then the baby is born and a little later, the placenta follows is delivered.
Normally, labor begins sometime between 37th week and 42nd week of pregnancy. If labor occurs before 37th week of pregnancy, it is considered preterm labor.
The signs of labor, the start of the labor, and the length of time it takes to go through labor differ from woman to woman.
Stages of Labor
Labor happens in three stages.
The first stage prepares the body for delivery. It starts with contractions and continues until your cervix has become thinner and stretched to about 4 inches wide.
The second stage is the active stage. In this stage, you begin to push downward. It is called crowning when your baby’s head comes into view. Shortly thereafter, your baby is born.
The third stage involves delivering the placenta. The placenta is the organ that supplied oxygen and nutrients to your baby during pregnancy.
Your doctor or OB/GYN will closely monitor you and your baby during labor. Most women give birth through normal vaginal delivery. If there are any complications, the baby is surgically delivered by a cesarean section (C-section).
Signs of Labor
You might have the following signs before going into labor:
- Have regular contractions, and then start to have them at frequent intervals
- Fluid leakage or bleeding from the vagina
- Low, dull backache
- Abdominal cramps
If you have any of the above signs, call your doctor or OB/GYN immediately. If these signs occur before your due date, it could be a sign of preterm labor. Preterm labor can start before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.