what are the main key points of child labor?
First of all two things can happen, 1) your waters can break, 2) your contractions can start. Either one can happen first. If your waters break first you must be confined to hospital immediately in case of infection. If your contractions start first then you should time them. At the beginning they can be a few hours apart and quite bearable. As time goes on there is less time in between them and they become more intense. Remember your breathing exercises and always have your bag in the car ready to go when they get to about 30 mins apart or until the pain is so unbearable where you need pain relief. My waters broke first and It was the next day before my contractions started so I had to go to hospital immediately. You will be offered morphine, pethidine etc or you can opt for an epidural which paralyses you from the waist down. In my case this was not successful as my legs were paralysed yet I felt every contraction. I would not recommend this option to anyone. Once you are in established labour where your contractions are every few seconds, your doc or midwife will examine you internally quite frequently to gauge how "dilated" your cervix is. When you get to 10cm dilated (this can take a very long time, from 1-24 hours sometimes longer) you will be asked to push. You wont be allowed to push for more than half an hour due to maternal exhaustion and your own mental wellbeing. If the baby is not born after this they will perform an "episiotomy" where they cut the vaginal opening in an "L" shape under local anaesthetic and may use a vaccuum on the baby's head as you push. Don't worry, you will be stitched under anaesthetic as you are holding your bundle of joy and they will pump you full of painkillers for weeks after to "numb" the pain. Counselling will be offererd for mothers who find giving birth traumatic. Remember, childbirth is the most traumatic experience the human body will ever encounter so don't feel a failure for using pain relief - this helps to take the strain off your heart and when you see that little angel every bit of pain will be well worth it. Take a VERY supportive person to the delivery room with you to give you drinks, massages, play music etc and make it as joyful an experience as possible. It is amazing what the female body can do despite the pain. Embrace it. x
Oh and somewhere between your waters breaking and contractions starting (any time) you will have a "show" which basically means the "plug" of mucus keeping the cervix closed to protect your baby will become dislodged. You will notice it usually in the bathroom as you pee when it will "pop" out and down the toilet - do not be afraid, this is verrry natural and means you're one step closer to meeting your baby. The "show" will be mucusy blood in a lump-form and this indicateds that the womb is now open to allow the baby to move down the birth canal and eventually out into this big world!! x