Ask recent mothers how they feel about giving birth to a new life, and their responses might range from “Overwhelming” and “Inexplicable” to “Amazing” and “Painful”. However, these responses are confined to emotions and don’t acquaint you with the physical experiences they undergo while giving birth.
Several women are anxious about the childbirth experience and wonder what it actually must feel like. Through this article, we will take you through the journey of physiological and emotional changes that take place before, during and after birth. But before we do that, we will explain to you the two most commonly implemented methods for childbirth; vaginal and caesarean.
In this kind of delivery, the baby is born out of the birth canal. Although it is difficult to guess when a woman might go into labour, delivery occurs between 38-41 weeks of pregnancy. Most of the gynaecologists suggest that it is better to go for vaginal birth unless there is a medical reason for not doing so.
Some of the benefits of vaginal delivery are:
- Low chances of infection
- Shorter stay at the hospital
- Fast recovery
- Babies do not have respiratory problems
Cesarean (C-Section) Delivery
If/whenever there are complications with vaginal delivery, cesarean is opted for. It involves delivering a baby by the surgical incision of a mother’s uterus and abdomen. During unavoidable circumstances and risks posed to the mother or baby, C-section is planned in advance.
Given below are the situations in which doctors might choose a cesarean way of giving birth
- Baby’s is in the breech – position indicates the bottom first or sideways
- Low placenta in the uterus that covers the cervix
- Baby with heavyweight
- Fibroid and/or other obstructions
Early Labour Phase
“I think I am getting a contraction.” This is quite common to hear from mothers during early labour phase. This kind of labour contractions might put you in the state of sudden attention and you might feel that the mid-section is hardening up. It usually happens due to the contraction of uterus followed by dull/sharp lower back pain.
However, these contractions last less than a minute. Even if you feel uncomfortable or uneasy during these contractions, focus on your breathing and they will die down eventually. You will feel normal thereafter. Some other sensations you may experience are:
- Intestinal cramps or diarrhoea
- Sudden bursts of energy
- Bodily tension
Active Labour Phase
This is a time when you are likely to experience contractions more frequently and intensely. Often expressed as “tight squeeze” felt around your midsection, these contractions might last longer and feel a little more painful than the ones experienced during passive contractions.
Other sensations experienced during this time include:
- Irregular breathing patterns
- Lack of Hunger
- Moaning during contractions
- Back pain
- Mouth going dry
Transition from Contractions
In this short phase, the number of contractions increases in frequency and intensity. They are longer and come closer together. The breaks in between become shorter, which can make the process difficult. Other sensations include:
- Feelings of Panic
- Feeling like “I can’t do this anymore”
- Pressure on vagina/anal region
- Knowing that the end is close
The process of pushing is an intense part of labour and involves a lot of physical strain to eventually make the mother feel exhausted. Pushing might come along with the following sensations:
- Pressure in the pelvic area
- Feeling like going to the loo
- Stretching the whole crowning
- Being disappointed for not being able to push enough
- Losing patience
- Relief after baby’s birth
The process of giving birth can be difficult. And hence, the immediate postpartum period comes with several emotional and physical feelings including
- The feeling of being overwhelmed
- Tenderness in the perineum if the area is stitched
- Chattering teeth/Clenching jaws
- Muscle Soreness
- Swelling in vagina/Vulva
Baby Blues and Getting Over Them
Usually, the baby blues go away on their own. But if they linger for a longer time, here’s what you can do to feel better:
- Get as many hours of sleep as you can.
- Ask someone in the family to watch your baby while you take some time out for self-care.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation as and when you can
- Talk to your doctor and connect with other moms as it might help answer a lot of your questions.
- Stay away from alcohol or an overdose of caffeine as they can give you mood swings, making it hard to take care of your baby.
We hope that the above information will help you get over the labour pain easily. It is always good to avail literature on childbirth or ask questions to your doctor about the process of labour. Have you heard a similar description of the process of childbirth from someone? Feel free to share with us.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.