Occasionally, babies run into a few difficulties while making their way into the world. Special procedures may be needed for example, to aid your baby’s exit from the birth canal. Or, if your baby’s health is at risk, a cesarean delivery may be required. Don’t forget, that no matter how the birth goes, a healthy baby is the primary goal.
The contractions that occur during labor serve the purpose of opening up the cervix to allow the birth of your baby. When your cervix has opened to 10 cm, you will notice a distinct feeling of wanting to bear down. This can feel like the urge to move your bowels, but much, much stronger. Your contractions may begin to slow down at this point, and it may actually feel good to push.
You will be instructed to push with each contraction. Your partner can participate in this process by counting out loud while you push. With each push, your baby will begin the descent through the birth canal. Your doctor or midwife may perform a small cut to widen the opening of the vagina to speed up the delivery. Local anesthesia is used before the cut is made, so you shouldn’t feel a thing. However, you can expect some pain afterwards as your episiotomy cut heals.
Some lucky women only need to push a couple of times before a baby is born, while others will work for hours. After your baby’s head emerges from the birth canal, one shoulder will slip out and then the other. After the shoulders the rest of your baby’s body will follow quickly. After delivery, the placenta will peel away from the wall of your uterus, and you may need to push a couple of more times to expel it from your vagina. You may continue to feel contractions that will help your newly empty uterus return to its former size.
Sometimes a woman may push for hours without making much progress. Other times, the baby’s heartbeat becomes erratic or slow, or the position can make delivery harder. In these cases, the doctor of midwife may need to assist delivery by using forceps or vacuum extraction. This is done in about 10 percent of vaginal deliveries.
Forceps look like two large tongs. They are inserted into the vagina and placed around the baby’s cheeks and jaw. Then, the forceps are used to gently guide the baby’s head out of the birth canal.
Vacuum extraction is used similar to forceps, except a plastic cup is inserted into the vagina and applied to the baby’s head. Suction holds the cup in place. A handle attached to the cup allows for the baby to be pulled through the birth canal. In the vast majority of births where either forceps or vacuum extraction is used, there are no major problems. Still, both tools can bruise the baby’s head and cause tearing to the vagina and cervix.
Over 20 percent of babies are born by cesarean birth. This means the baby is delivered from an incision in the mothers uterus and abdomen. While some cesarean births are planned in advance, some situations can occur during labor that can make a cesarean birth the safest choice for the baby.
You may require a cesarean deliver if:
- You have had a prior cesarean birth.
- You have certain medical conditions such as an active genital herpes outbreak.
- You have a large baby or a small pelvis. This is called cephalopelvic disproportion.
- Your baby is in an unusual position such as buttocks or feet down.
- You have a multiple pregnancy. Many women give birth vaginally to twins, but the chance of cesarean increases dramatically with each additional fetus.
- There are problems with the placenta blocking all of part of the cervix.
- The umbilical cord is pinched or compressed.
- Your labor fails to progress. This is the cause for 1 in 3 cesarean births.
Most cesarean births are fairly straight forward and quick. In most cases, the birth goes something like this:
1. You will be given an epidural, a spinal block, or general anesthesia to numb the pain during surgery.
2. The anesthesiologist will hook you up to equipment that will monitor your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. You will also be fitted with a mask or tubes in your nostrils to receive oxygen.
3. Your partner or labor coach will be asked to put on a sterile mask and gown and then will be seated next to you in the operating room.
4. A nurse will prep you for surgery by washing our abdomen and shaving any hair between your pubic bone and navel. A catheter will be inserted into your bladder, and an IV line will be started in a vein in your arm or hand. Your abdomen will then be swabbed with antiseptic, and sterile drapes will be placed around your abdomen.
5. The doctor will make a small incision through your skin and the wall of your abdomen. Depending on the position of the baby, the cut could be made either vertically or horizontally.
6. The doctor will then spread apart your abdominal muscles and cut through the lining of your abdominal cavity. The doctor will then make another cut in the uterine wall.
7. Your baby will be delivered through the incisions. Next, the umbilical cord will be cut, and the baby will be passed to a nurse. The doctor will also remove the placenta at this time.
8. The uterus and abdominal wall will then be closed and stitched with sutures that will dissolve in your body. Stitches or surgical staples will be used to also close the incision in your skin. A dressing will be placed over the incision.
by Julian Hall
About the Author: Julian Hall of GiftBabies.co.uk – The Baby Gifts Company – The Most Unique, Innovative Gift Ideas for Babies, Christening Gifts, Newborn Gifts, Personalized Gifts, Organic Clothing, Nappies, Blankets, New Baby Gifts
This article is accurate. This is really what happens in a medically managed childbirth. Now let me explain why most of it is unnecessary or dangerous.
First of all the primary goal is a healthy mother and baby, not just a healthy baby. While most mothers would in fact give their life for their child, it does not mean that she should undergo unnecessary torture as if her feelings and pain just don’t matter. A mother does not lose her basic human rights just because she is giving birth.
Forced pushing. This is one of the most ridiculous aspects of a hospital birth. When you reach dilation, a team forms around you, they make you lie on your back, in the worst possible position to deliver a baby in and they all yell at you to push while you hold your breath. There are so many things wrong with this I don’t even know where to start.
A. They make you hold your breath while you push. These people are idiots. Babies need oxygen. Why on earth would you hold your breath? Pant, count your breaths or do what comes naturally but for heavens sakes, do not hold your breath for ten or twenty seconds at a time!
B. You are on your back. Your baby’s weight will be compressing your vena cava which supplies oxygen rich blood to the baby. As I mentioned in A., your baby needs oxygen (combine supine, breath holding and tetonic Pitocin induced contractions….hello birth injury!) . Just because your doctor or midwife are willing to sacrifice your child’s oxygen for a better view does not mean you should comply. Get on all fours if they won’t let you squat or kneel. They will still have their precious view and you won’t be suffocating your baby.
In addition, the supine position (on your back) does not take advantage of gravity, it forces your baby into your tailbone, it forces the baby to actually move uphill against gravity to emerge from the birth canal and it forces the mother to physically push the baby out with her abdominal muscles rather than uterine contractions. Get off your back ladies.
C. It is just unnatural. Your baby will emerge from the birth canal naturally if you simply let gravity and your contractions do their job (believe it or not). Do you see your cat holding its breath and pushing for ten seconds when it gives birth? Do you think teenagers who give birth in the bathroom of a McDonalds hold their breath and push for ten seconds? It is simply preposterous.
Everything you just read also applies to assisted delivery. If you are squatting, kneeling or on all fours, your pelvis will open up to 30% more than while you are laying down. Your back will naturally arch, opening up the birth canal. Even cases of cephalopelvic disproportion can often be birthed naturally if the mother assumes a more natural, effective birthing position. Dangerous, damaging forceps and vacuum extractors are only necessary because the mother is on her back.
Cesareans are barbaric. Cutting a baby from its mother’s womb is butchery. It should be a last resort. Unfortunately it lines the pockets of obstetrical surgeons, it is great for scheduling their vacations, and it has been sold to countless women as “the more civilized alternative”. There are very few legitimate reasons for a C-section. One of them is placenta previa, where the baby simply cannot emerge through the birth canal because the placenta is blocking it’s path. If you are diagnosed with a placenta problem then please, schedule a cesarean with my blessing. Otherwise, you are probably risking your health and your baby’s health for ulterior motives. How ethical is that?
Buy the Book: Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities
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