What Does A Quicker, Easier Birth Look and Feel Like?

Birth has distinctive characteristics.

Stages Of Childbirth

  1. Early Labour
  2. Active Labour
  3. Giving Birth
  4. Directly After Birth
  5. A Little While After Birth

Early Labour

Dilation / ContractionsMamaBaby
• ~1-4 cm dilated
• ~ 4-10 minutes apart
• ~ 20-45 seconds long
• Talking normally
• Fully dressed
• Strong desire to prepare her space
• Awareness of others
• Short & light contractions
• Contractions regular or irregular
• Aware, present, excited, uncertain, chatty, sharing feelings
• May need to poop
• Mucus plug or bloody show in undies
• Prefers to rock back-to-front (not side-to-side)
• Rest/ sleep
• Baby is engaged in the top of the pelvis or is trying to engage.
• Try this deep supported squat to help baby engage.

Active Labour

Dilation / ContractionsMamaBaby 
• ~5-7cm dilated
• 3-6 minutes apart
• 60-75 seconds long
• No longer chatty
• Seeks to cocoon w/ partner or alone
• Surges frequent, longer & more intense
• Labour requires full focus
• Eyes closed
• Removes clothing
• Enjoys leaning forward position
• Rocks side-to-side
• Less responsive to questions—one word replies
• Mucus plug or bloody show in undies
• May make deep sounds (e.g. moaning) to focus energy
• Noises are lower & lower in tone
• Baby is turning into position for birth.
• ~8-9cm dilated
• 2 to 3 minutes apart • 60-75 seconds long
• Fully “within herself” and focused
• May sleep between contractions
• Buries face, grabs hands for support, changes positions to seek comfort
• Membranes often rupture (if not probably rupture pushing)
• Lots of pressure in bum
• Feels like “needs to poop”
• May say or think “I can’t do this anymore”
• Seeks stability/ encouragement from doula, midwife, partner
• May make “primal” sounds
• Sounds lower in tone as she begins involuntarily pushing

Giving Birth

Dilation / ContractionsMamaBaby
• ~10cm dilated
• 2 to 3 minutes apart • 60-75 seconds long
• Body involuntarily “pushing”
• Adrenaline boost, suddenly more aware & awake
• Naked (or just a bra)
• Head down, eyes closed, knees bent
• “Purple line” between buttocks
• “I need to push” or “baby is coming”
• Seeks hands to hold / “reassurance of the room”
• Guttural sounds (deep, rough, loud)
• Births in kneeling, standing, side-lying position
• May want birth pool
• Reaches to feel baby’s head (instinctual pacing)
• Relief (resting, catching up to the moment), peace (silent, smile, content), ecstatic
• Urge to push is initiated by the position of the baby’s head in the pelvis
• Baby comes through the birth canal, and out.
• Baby is usually eyes closed.
• Fluid is expelled through the baby’s nose, preparing the baby to breath. 
• Involuntarily, the baby’s head rotates ninety degrees (restitution).
• The body usually follows in the next few surges.
• Baby may be ‘caught’ by the mother and taken to her chest or by the partner or midwife and then passed to the mother.

Directly After Birth

ContractionsMamaBaby
• Few more contractions bring placenta out• The first embrace
• May feel relief, shock, etc.
• Breastfeed bub
• Placenta comes out ~5 to 20 mins after
• Baby is in mama’s arms and on her chest
• The first eye-to-eye contact
• Baby is alert, may or may not cry
• Warmth of chest and sound of heartbeat comforts baby
• Crawls to breast to feed

A Little While After Birth

MamaBaby
• Washes off and pees
• Wants food and/or drink
• Tired
• Jumps into bed to sleep with bub
• May feel relief, shock, etc.
• Baby is in mama’s arms
• Baby is alert, eyes open
• May or may not cry

Much love,
Stephanie Renee Cluff

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