A lot happens when you go into labor. You may read up on labor and delivery beforehand, but something will surprise you. At Desert Blossom Women’s Care, we’ve seen just about everything during midwifery. Here’s what you can expect.

Very Early Signs

The earliest signs your baby is coming can appear before you’re due. You may notice an increase in pink or brown vaginal discharge, and possibly the loss of your mucous plug. You’ll also experience Braxton Hicks and some real contractions as your cervix changes slightly and your baby moves into a better position. Take this time to preregister at the hospital, pack your bags, and wait.

Early Labor

Your contractions may be very spaced out at this point. This is the longest part of most labors, so you’re probably going to be most comfortable at home; if you show up at the hospital during early labor, your midwife will likely tell you to wait until later. You might see blood and parts of your mucous plug come out. Between contractions, get in some light activity; it might encourage the baby to arrive a little faster. Throughout labor, your midwife probably will monitor your baby’s heart rate.

Active Labor

This is the point when you’ll start to need comfort, coping and relaxation skills during your contractions, and should think about moving to a hospital. Contractions should be four minutes apart, one minute long, and continue for longer than one hour. Don’t be surprised if the same doctor or team of nurses doesn’t stick with you for the entire process (midwives are more likely to stay the entire time); someone will be there when it’s time to push. Your nurses also might chat with you and each other to lighten the mood and distract you.

Transition

Your contractions will get closer together with less of a break between. This is the hardest but shortest phase, and some women choose pain medicine either toward the end of the active stage or during transition. Keep in mind that if you get an epidural, that means waiting up to 45 minutes, a catheter that will stay until it’s time to push, and not getting out of bed. Some women get a small break toward the end of transition to catch their breaths.

Pushing

Your body knows when to push, but your midwife will assist. Pushing can take up to a few hours, depending on whether this is your first baby, how you’re positioned, and the baby’s position. You might lose control of your bowels because you use those muscles to push, but don’t be embarrassed; they are professionals who have seen and cleaned it all before. If your partner is squeamish, make sure he or she knows things could get messy.

The Placenta

Once the umbilical cord is cut, your midwife will prompt you to push and deliver the placenta. Your baby will get a vitamin-K shot to help his or her blood clot, and ointment to protect the eyes from bacteria. Your baby’s hands and feet might look blue, but that goes away once the infant gets used to breathing on his or her own. You’ll stay in the delivery room for two hours afterward to make sure you’re both doing well before you’re taken to a postpartum room.

Expect Great Care With Desert Blossom Women’s Care

When you schedule an appointment with one of our midwives, you will get personalized, compassionate care. With the certified nurse-midwives at Desert Blossom Women’s Care, southern Arizona moms-to-be receive care that embraces pregnancy and childbirth while keeping you and your baby healthy. Get in touch to schedule a midwifery appointment.

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