Know about the signs of normal delivery to be better informed when you visit the doctor. It is useful for you to be acquainted with some medical procedures and terms used when delivering a baby.
You might come across a lot of jargon when you go into the hospital after experiencing labour pain. For knowing the signs that can indicate even to you that your delivery is normal, you may need to keep asking the doctors or medical staff. If you have a general idea of what to expect in a normal delivery, it will help to keep your anxieties down.
Signs of Normal Delivery
The beginning of your delivery is with labour pains. This can last from 8 to 14 hours.
Dilation of Cervix
The dilation of your cervix should be anywhere between 1 to 10 centimetres. If the cervix dilates till 3 to 4 centimetres only to contract back, it is termed active labour. This is the first stage of labour when your admitted to the hospital. When it is 10 centimetres, the baby is almost out. When trying to deliver the baby, the doctor feels for the cervical dilation. He will place the hands in the vagina right up to the cervix to feel the baby’s body parts. If everything is normal, he should find the baby’s head. If any other body parts are felt, particularly the butt or feet, it is not normal and a C-section may be needed.
Feeling the Baby's Head
When trying to deliver the baby, the doctor feels for the cervical dilation. He will place the hands in the vagina right up to the cervix to feel the baby’s body parts. If everything is normal, he should find the baby’s head. If any other body parts are felt, particularly the butt or feet, it is not normal and a C-section may be needed.
Effacement of the cervix
Since the head of the baby is found to be down in most cases, the doctor goes on examining the cervix and in particular, what is called the effacement of the cervix. It is measured in percentages. The normal length of cervix is between 3 and 4 centimetres. With the start of labour, the cervix starts to expand and thin. This thinning is so much that it gets incorporated in the lower part of uterus. If the cervix is found to be 2 cm thick, effacement is about 50 percent.
Station of the Baby
The bony part of mother’s pelvis that is felt by doctor or nurse during her exam has ischial spines. The location of this determines what is called the station of the baby. Station of the baby is determined by distance between baby’s presenting body (normally head) to the location of mother’s ischial spines. The mother needs to have a station of the baby at 0. The station is defined as lying between -5 to +5 levels based on location of ischial spine. At 0 level, the top of baby’s head is at the ischial spine. If baby is at positive level of station, it means the baby has gone past the ischial spine and is closer to delivery. So when you hear your doctor say, 4 cm. dilated/50% effaced/-1 station in the delivery room, know that cervix is dilated by 4 cm, it has thinned by 50 percent and -1 is an indication of the baby’s head position.
Regular contractions with the abovementioned diagnosis mean your phase of labour is active. You should deliver within 8 to 12 hours if not earlier.
Image source: Getty Images
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