What can I expect from the whole labour process?

Katherine - posted on 05/12/2009 ( 26 moms have responded )

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This Is my first child and im both excited and nervous.....Any tips or details anybody can give me would be appriciated...Thank you:)

26 Comments

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Shannon - posted on 06/05/2009

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I have to agree with everyone when they say it's all up to your own body's reaction. I woke up 5 weeks before my due date and as I got out of bed my water broke... I had a little bit of labor pains, but it felt more like menstrual cramps- they honestly were not bad. I was dilated enough 20mins later to get an epidural.. which was my life saver! haha (awesome to those who do without! my hats off to you!). I even took 2 naps while waiting for my little Katelynn to get her! It was the days after that were horrible!! I could barely walk because of my episiotomy!! Also- you can get hemmorhoids from pushing, which no one warned me about!! BUT with your baby here, you'll be amazed at how your body kicks into gear whether its overcoming sleep deprivation or pain! Congrats though.. and just stay calm and relaxed, I'm sure you'll do great! My little girl is 5 months now, she was born a preemie but healthy and it was all worth it!

Natasha - posted on 06/05/2009

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Walking helps with the pain. When I was walking I almost couldn't feel them. I stopped walking at around 11 because i had to stop and breath through them. But by 3 i had my son. It will probably feel like you have to have a bowel movement when its time to push. Listen to your doctor when pushing doing that really helped things go faster with my second. I took a drink of water between contractions while pushing it helped keep me going.

Nicole - posted on 06/05/2009

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Warm baths during labor are amasing! For me the pain was totally manageable. I had a drug free birth with no tearing. Staying fit during pregnancy made a lot of things go well- so perhaps find a good exercise routine to prepare. leg strength is an absolute must. I squatted for the pushing stage looking my boyfriend and doctor in the face. there was no way in hell I would degrade my self with stirrups on my back. it only took ten minutes to get her out. Just get a good idea about what you would like for your birth experience and talk about it with your partner and doctor/midwife.It is possible to have a joyful, non traumatic birth. A Birth Without Violence is a great read.

Ez - posted on 06/02/2009

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Labour is different for everyone, but it's nothing to be frightened of. Here's a surprise - IT HURTS lol, but we all know that I'm sure. Personally, I dealt with the pain pretty well (went through 19 hour labour with no epidural) but it was the exhaustion from my long labour that I struggled with. Then because I was so exhausted by the end I wasn't pushing effectively and I was taken to theatre for a forceps delivery. I think it's important to go into it armed with as much information as possible, but realise a birth plan is just that - A PLAN. By all means have a list of preferences about how you want things to go, but be open to other possibilities. I desperately wanted a natural birth, and had planned on staying as active and upright as possible to help me work through the pain and keep my labour progressing. This worked great for the first 7-8hrs. My contractions were 4mins apart, I was 5cm dilated and I was walking around the delivery room laughing at my family who were all still in there. Then they broke my water, my contractions went to 90 secs apart and I started to vomit. So guess what?? After trying to labour on all fours for a while I eventually couldn't hold myself up and had to do what I swore I wouldn't - I got on the bed. And there I stayed for the next 9 hours until I was rushed to theatre. So I guess the moral of the story is that your body will let you know what you need to do. And it's great that you're excited, and normal that you're nervous. Just don't be scared. It's a fabulous thing you're about to do. Good luck.

Megan - posted on 06/01/2009

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your body is GOOD at this baby stuff.. lol! Or at least a lot of us are! I had a mostly natural childbirth (no pain meds) Go in with a plan but flexible! If you are determined to go without meds you can do it provided nothing goes wrong! Labor hurts but you can handle it. I think that childbirth is the ultimate test of a woman's strength and vitality! (Not that you are not a strong woman if you don't or didn't do it naturally) Breathing techniques really help you work through contractions. I actually did yoga breathing (pranayama) through my contractions... but many women do lamaze breathing techniques. All in all follow what YOUR BODY says-- with the help of the doctor. I spent half of my labor butt-naked in the hospital room laying on the floor rather than in the bed- because i would have had my baby in the snow to cool down if they would have let me... and i thought the floor was extra comfy. I almost cried for a second when they told me to get in the bed to push! lol! (obviously after the baby was born i through on a nightgown but in childbirth do what works best for you!

And when things get tough focus on that little angel you are about to have in your arms.

oh... and on last thing! Remember this... you are not there to please anyone or make anyone else happy. Dont be a raving banshee... but this is YOUR BIRTH experience. No one elses! And good luck to you and your sweet baby!

Colleen - posted on 06/01/2009

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Every labor is different. Do some research and have a plan of action for any eventuality. And remember that fear and tension slow the labor so practice relaxation techniques. If you're hopeing for a natural birth google Ina May Gaskin for some wonderful tips and advice. The female body is an amazing thing, designed to carry and give birth to a precious new life. By having confidence in it and yourself you have the best chance to have a truly beautiful labor and birth. Best of luck!!

Brittany - posted on 06/01/2009

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Expect the un-expected. Don't go in with expectations, things can change in a matter of seconds. Don't set out thinking everything is going to go perfect, keep in mind that there is a number of different things that can take place. With my first child who is 5 now, I had my expectations on labor and delivery set way to high. I thought everything would go great, only to go in and be put on a million different IV's, I was in labor for 48hours and ended up with a horrible C-section, but once I saw my son's little face it was all worth it! The 2nd time around everything went perfect! Easy pregnancy, easy labor, easy delivery, no c-section, no pain! And then with my third my med's wore off and I delivered without anything. Can I say um Ow? LOL! But by the time it's all done and over with and you see that baby, you forget everything and it's like walking on cloud nine! Good Luck.

Katherine - posted on 06/01/2009

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Thank you to all......I will most deffinatley use all this info....And my nerves are now calmed down too...Again much Thanks!!! :)...xo

Jennel - posted on 05/12/2009

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Hi I was induced due to high blood pressure and i was stuck being monitored for most of it but it was so fast for a first child the Midwifes did not belive me when i said i was pushing i was in hard labour for 1 hour 15 min and pushed for 15 min. The advice i got that really helped was to relax into the pain and work with it dont fight it but yes it hurts distracting is the best way for this. I think its the reason she came so fast i went form 3 cm to her out in three hours but only felt contractons for two hours i had back labour so that was enough, Good luck and its so true as soon as the baby is out the pain is gone and you forget so fast. Congratulations it is a experiance that is so empowering.

Tami - posted on 05/12/2009

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i was induced cause i was nearly three weeks over due date he just didnt wanna come out, i was in the hospital from the moment they first induced me, i look back and think i wanted to go home cause when in early stages of labour and in the hospital already time seems to go so slow

Amanda - posted on 05/12/2009

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Well it's different for everyone.. It depends on how high of a tolerance you have for pain, and how much will power you have to with stand the efforts. I mean I can't complain. I have 2 wonderful boys. An almost 7 year old, and a 7 month old. I was 19 when I had Caleb, and I was in labor 6 1/2 hours. and I did it with just a mild sedative to help me sleep. He was a healthy 7.5 oz. I did however have 3rd degree tearing... But this doesn't happen to everyone. they said that it was on account of my age, and the fact that I had such a fast labor. After I was fully dialated I pushed for 10 minutes and he was here. As for my second son.. Wyatt who is now 7 months, I was in labor only 5 1/2 hours, and I pushed again for about 10 minutes. I again got only a mild sedative for the pain.. and anxiety because he began having decelerations because the cord was around his neck.. However he was born shortly after and at a healthy 8.7 oz I recieved only 1st degree tearing that time around.. So as you can see my births were great, and can't complain.. But many people I have talked to say that it depends on the person, and there tolerance for pain like I said. All I will say is try everything before deciding on an epideral.. 3 of my friends had them, and weeks after birth they were still expiriencing numbness randomly, and severe headaches. So be careful.. And good luck!!!

Cathleen - posted on 05/12/2009

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Well, I didn't even know I was IN labour. I went in for some shots, and then I felt a little pinching, they thought the baby was reacting... I have RH O- blood type and I was in for my second dose. So, when they put me on the monitor, sure enough, they were 3 minutes apart. I wasn't in a lot of pain until I was at about 6.5 cm. They broke my water at 7 cm. I had back labour combined with the normal contractions... it was horrible. I opted for no medication, and I did it without any.
She was born after only 6 hours of hard labour and I pushed for 8 minutes. I had 4 stitches and that was it. WALK as much as they'll let you. They didn't let me walk because my labour went to quickly, but do it as much as you can, it'll help everything speed up!
Good luck! It'll be over before you know it, and then the next thing you'll know, they'll be crawling and then walking!

Gemma - posted on 05/12/2009

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Hi first of all congratulations and enjoy your pregnancy.

I had my little boy Madison on Valentines Day 2008. I had a birth plan that said I didn't want an epidural unfortunately I had a very long labour {64 hours} and eventually I gave in and had one. For the first 40 hours I had a Tens Machine it really worked. After my labour I held my son and compleatly forgot about the pain honestly. It hasn't put me off having another child so it wasn't that bad. Good Luck and remember enjoy and let us know what you have and all that :-)

Tasha - posted on 05/12/2009

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hello katherine here is the suggestions i will give you try to focus on your breathing when the pain is strong remmember tasha said this take it easy katherine.

Alison - posted on 05/12/2009

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My labour began with cramps that lasted through the night so I read and tried to ignore the cramps and tried to sleep or at least rest, eventually my water broke and the contractions got stronger and closer together and I felt a lot of pressure so I called the hospital and they told me to come in and two hrs later my gorgeous son was born. You'll be surprised how much your body works with you, you just need to help it along. In between contractions try to put your head down and rest your eyes, saving your energy and helping you to relax. Ask your partner to rub your lower back too I found this helps, and don't be afraid to get into what ever position feels best for you. I also had gas as pain relief. I had a good labour. Good luck to you, you'll be amazing whatever type of labour you have and get to meet your gorgeous baby how exciting it's the most amazing love, all best for you and your family

Alison - posted on 05/12/2009

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My labour began with cramps that lasted through the night so I read and tried to ignore the cramps and tried to sleep or at least rest, eventually my water broke and the contractions got stronger and closer together and I felt a lot of pressure so I called the hospital and they told me to come in and two hrs later my gorgeous son was born. You'll be surprised how much your body works with you, you just need to help it along. In between contractions try to put your head down and rest your eyes, saving your energy and helping you to relax. Ask your partner to rub your lower back too I found this helps, and don't be afraid to get into what ever position feels best for you. I also had gas as pain relief. I had a good labour. Good luck to you, you'll be amazing whatever type of labour you have and get to meet your gorgeous baby how exciting it's the most amazing love, all best for you and your family

Amie - posted on 05/12/2009

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Oh I forgot to mention to. If you don't want to stay after delivering you do not have to. They can not make you. As long as you and baby are fine you can leave. They only want you to really stay so you can rest. I rest better at home in my surroundings. With my 1st I went home the next day but she was delivered late at night. My 2nd I went home 8 hours after having him. My 3rd and 4th I was home within 6 hours. They checked me and baby. My flow, that baby was pooping and peeing, did our routine tests and then had a healthy home nurse come and check us every couple of days for 2 weeks.

Cathelijn - posted on 05/12/2009

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It all depends! the best advise I got was stay home as long as possible, I felt fine for a long time I didn't even think I was in labour but when we went to hospital I was 4 cm dilated and 3 hours later my daughter was born. It is a natural thing and your body is made for it woman have been doing this millions of years thats what I kept thinking and I thought to myself there is people who have babies next to a goat in some countries (not to offend anyone it was just one of those things that kept me going).

Good luck with everything and whatever happens you will have your beautiful baby in your arms afterwards!

Becky - posted on 05/12/2009

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One word of advice- plan for a c-section. I was adament that I was not going to have one but unfortunately I was stuck at 9 1/2 cm for 4 hours and I started to run a fever so they made me have a c-section. At first they recommended it and I declined because I really didnt want one (but I had a breakdown!). That could have all been avoided had I prepared myself mentally for the possibility of a c-section. Hopefully you wont run into it but I wish someone told me this tip.

Samantha - posted on 05/12/2009

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it starts off with mild pains and they get a little bit like a really bad period pain if u can deal with them u can have ur child no probs . congratulations i had my first in december 07 and having my second!

Cindy-Justin - posted on 05/12/2009

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Hi Katherine,

Wot an exciting time this is! In feb this year I gave birth to a beatiful baby girl! I was determined that I would have a natural birth but my gynea had told me to be prepared for either or. YOu see the birth is not always in your control! All i can say is go with the flow! If you are determined to go for natural and then all of a sudden are faced with a ceaserean, dont fight it! Either way you are going to have the same end result! The most amazing beautiful baby that you created! That at the end of the day is all the matters! How you deliver is really not important! And once you se ethat precious bundle of joy you dont remember anything!!! So go in there with an open mind and enjoy every second!!!! I nded up having a c section, and you know what i dont regret it for a second, even though I was set on natural! You just do wot you want to do! dont let anybody tell you what too do!! Wishing you all of the best! Being a mom is the most amazing joy! ENJOY

Jami - posted on 05/12/2009

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when i was pregnat with my first i expected it to be horrible I was induced it was over welming at times but as soon as you have the baby you will froget about all the pain my second was much easier i went into labor an my own went to the hospital at 7-8 centemeters and had him in 10 min so each one was so different but i can say its not to bad.. with morning sickness i would just try to eat little portions at a time and if that dont work try to avoid what seems to be making you sick good luck and cograts it really is not to bad

Katie - posted on 05/12/2009

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With my first child I felt the same way.However when it cam down to it, I had no time to think about what was happening.I went into labor quick and had to do it without the help of my husband.My son came so quick that my husband never made it in time.I worked at the hospital I delivered at and my supervisor was the one that helped deliver my baby.I had no epidural, nor was I induced.He came all natural and I had no choice in the matter.The only advice I can give you is when you think you are in actual labor go to the hospital and don't hesitate.If I did not go into work that day I probably would have never made it in time for his arrival.Just trust your instincts and you'll do fine.



My second child however was quite the opposite.She was breeched, so I had to have a c-section for her.The delivery was easier but the recovery time was alot longer and worse.Good luck!

Kate CP - posted on 05/12/2009

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Don't listen to the horror stories! Turn off the Baby Story programs and put down the books! All these things will just scare you not help you. My best advice is this: if you're NOT being induced, stay at home for as long as you can before you venture to the birth center/hospital. The less interventions you have in early labor (before 6-7cm dialated) the lower your chances of a c-section. It's going to hurt. A lot. But in between contractions there is no pain and it gives you a bit of a rest. A good way to help the process of labor along is to squat and roll your hips as this opens up the pelvis. Try not to lay flat on your back because it will put pressure on the pelvis and make it harder for you to push the baby out.
Now, if you are being induced, then it's a bit different. They typically want you to stay at the hospital the entire time you're in labor so they can monitor you. This is very boring so bring videos or books or something to entertain yourself during the early stages. Don't feel bad if you need pain relief. Don't lie about your pain level, but don't feel bad if you ask for the epi or a dose of stadol or something. First time labors usually last longer then the second, third, etc. My first labor was 36 hours long from start to finish. How do you know when your labor starts? Well, you'll probably lose your mucus plug and start what's called a "bloody show". Don't freak out, it's normal. You'll feel pressure in your back and lower abdomen as the baby makes it's way into position to be born. The contractions are easier to handle if you get into a position that feels right for you. For me that was on my hands and knees or squatting. Some women find walking helpful, others find laying on their side better. If your water breaks you should go to the designated birthing place (hospital, birthing center). If it doesn't break, you should STAY HOME until it's hard to stand up or the contractions are close enough together. Have people (or one person) with you who will support you and give you the encouragement you need. Having my mom there was the best thing for me because she'd been through it twice before: once naturally the other was an emergency c-section. I had a pain medication free birth and I loved it, but that's not for everyone. I think you should try to do it naturally, but if you need some relief, ask for it.

After you push the baby out you get a great sense of relief. All the pressure and bloating is gone and immediately the pain ends. Not to mention you start crying and laughing when you see your baby. It's a great moment. Just remember: you're strong and you can do this. There will probably come a point when you want to just quit and say "I don't care cut it out of me I'm too tired to push any more" and that's normal. You'll get a second wind and that's when the baby will come. You'll do great, Mommy. :)

Amie - posted on 05/12/2009

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Don't worry. Your body knows what it's doing. =)

It will be painful but whether it's extreme or manageable is entirely you. What I mean by that is everyone has different tolerances to pain and every labor is different. With my first I was curled in a ball bawling my head off, with my last I sat there and talked with the doctor.

Don't ever be scared or embarrassed to ask a question or voice a concern. The labor and delivery nurses go through this every day, they've seen it all and have helped with it all.

Don't rule out drugs completely. If you can do it without great! But if you need it don't feel like a failure or that your doing harm. They offer them for a reason and, as stated above, know what their doing. =) There are other options too for drugs besides the epidural. While the epidural is great I'm sure, I don't like the idea of someone sticking a needle in my spinal column.

If you are unsure about whether labor has actually started just go in. They don't mind this either. =)

Take a few books or crossword puzzles to keep you occupied. I did since I always went in early with my labors. I tested positive for group B strep though so I had to get the antibiotics and since my labors were fairly quick anyway I only ever got the one dose. (it's supposed to be 2 doses 4 hours apart)

If you have any specific wishes tell them when you show up and are all settled in. I got the nurses to run interference at the door for me and my hubby. I didn't want anyone there so they kicked everyone out. lol. It was great. =)

Hope all goes well and congrats on your baby!

Katie - posted on 05/12/2009

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Its different for all moms so I don't know induced so the contractions were a pain...but you know it all depends on you and your pain level if you can do it with out meds...I got near the end then had to take it...but congrats and the first...just had my first also

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