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Although every woman’s experiences during childbirth are different, it may be helpful to learn what most women should expect. For example, most women experience three stages of labor during childbirth, some of which are painful, while others are not. During these stages, the body will go through various changes to prepare for the delivery of the baby. The nurse, doctor, or midwife will also be making preparations during these stages.
The first stage of labor during childbirth is typically the longest and may last anywhere from four to 12 hours, for most women. Many women will begin to experience mild contractions that can last anywhere from a minute to a minute and a half each. They are usually spaced anywhere from five to 15 minutes apart.
Toward the end of the first stage of labor, the contractions might increase in intensity and duration. The water may break as well. As the contractions increase, it may be beneficial to use deep breathing techniques, take a warm water bath, or use other forms of pain management. At this point, some women ask for stronger methods of pain relief, such as an epidural.
The second stage of labor may last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. At this point, the contractions will become regular, and the mother may be encouraged to find a pushing position from which to push out the baby. The mother may feel a large bout of pressure and a burning sensation, even if an epidural has been administered. This is the stage during childbirth where the baby is actually born.
At the third stage of labor, the umbilical cord is cut between the mother and baby. In addition, the doctor sees that the placenta has completely been removed from the uterus. The woman may also receive stitches if she experienced tearing during childbirth. Although there are still some contractions, they are usually not painful and are typically not noticed by the new mother.
Throughout the childbirth process, delivery staff may offer words of encouragement or support. In addition, they will monitor the condition of the baby and look for any signs that the baby is distressed. They will also check the vital signs, such as the blood pressure, of the mother. If necessary, they may force labor onto the next stage if the contractions stop or the progress slows.
Sometimes a doctor may need to intervene during childbirth to ensure a safe delivery. In those cases, the doctor may need to extract the baby with a vacuum or forceps. She may even recommend that the baby be born by Cesarean delivery, or through an incision in the abdomen and uterus of the mother.
There are several different options that a woman may use to make the process of childbirth a little easier. For example, some women use a birthing bed or chair. It can be adjusted so the mother can easily squat, sit on the bed’s edge, or lay on her side. Some women prefer to use a birthing ball or large stability ball that allows her to rock from side to side or back and forth during labor. Others opt to use a birthing tub that is filled with warm water. Many women believe the warm water to be soothing and that it relieves some of the painful symptoms that occur during childbirth.