Childbirth

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Labour can begin with contractions or breaking of water. Regardless of the way your labour begins, you will find information on when to go to the hospital in the When to go to the hospital section. Information on induction of labour is available in the Late pregnancy monitoring section.

 

When you come
to the hospital

 
At the hospital you are met by a midwife who checks the condition of the baby by CTG (Cardiotocography) and performs a pelvic examination to evaluate the stage of your labour. If you are still in the early stage  the midwife may suggest that you go back home for a while.
 
In the early stage of labour you may still go for a walk, for example. If you are feeling very uncomfortable and you are exhausted because of persistent contractions you may get a painkiller so that you can rest.
 

In the delivery room

 
When you have reached the active stage of labour you will go to the delivery room. You can tell the midwife about your wishes relating to the delivery and discuss different options of pain relief. You may, for example, go through a list of questions to prepare for your delivery.
 
Make yourself as comfortable as possible in the delivery room; move around to find a good position and relax by listening to music. You may use a gym ball, a sacco chair, etc. You will receive pain relief in accordance with your wishes and needs. It may take hours until the cervix is fully dilated.
 
The baby’s heart beats and the contractions of the womb are monitored during the labour. The midwife performs external and internal examinations to monitor the progress of your labour.
 
 

Almost there... 


The pushing stage begins, when the cervix is fully open (10 cm) and the baby’s presenting part (head or bottom) has descended low. At this point the mother has a strong feeling of weight / feels the need to push. It may happen that you have to wait a while for the descent of the presenting part and the need to push, even though the cervix is fully open (transition stage).
 
The pushing stage takes 30 to 90 minutes on average. You can push in many positions and it is a good idea to try different positions before this stage actually begins, so that you find the position that feels natural for you. You can use a mattress, a ball or a stool, for example. During the pushing stage you may change your position in accordance with your own feelings. The pushing stage ends with the birth of the baby. The support person can help you to find a good pushing position.
 
 
 

First contact and initiation
of breast-feeding
 


A healthy newborn is placed against the mother’s skin. This skin to skin contact helps the baby to adapt to life outside the womb. It is a safe start for a new life. The mother’s warmth keeps the baby warm, and the familiar heartbeat comforts the infant. The support person may cut the umbilical cord.
 
The labour is not over yet; the womb is still contracting. Delivery of the placenta is the last stage of labour. If you had an episiotomy or you have lacerations, they will be stitched once the placenta has been delivered.
 
When the newborn baby is allowed to lie peacefully against the mother’s skin, it begins instinctively to seek the breast. The baby keeps opening its mouth, sucks its fists and begins to crawl towards the breast. The baby prepares for sucking the breast by pecking on it, licking it and rubbing it with its hands. When the baby is allowed to take to the breast independently, it is likely that it opens its mouth wide and gets a good hold of the breast. Then the baby can suck efficiently and breast-feeding is not painful for the mother. Usually a newborn baby is ready for the first breast-feeding at the age of about one hour.  

 

Those important
measurements...


Before you are taken to the maternity ward, the midwife examines the baby visually and measures and weighs the infant. All newborn babies receive a vitamin K injection. This increases the baby’s clotting factors and reduces the risk of internal bleeding. The baby’s body temperature and vital functions are checked and the infant's condition is monitored.
 
While you are still in the delivery ward, you will get something to eat and you can take a shower before going to the maternity ward.
 
In the maternity ward the midwife discusses the delivery with the mother. If there is anything about the labour that is bothering you, you can always contact the hospital even after your discharge.