What to expect during pregnancy and the last leg of labour

Going through the process of child birth can be easier if you are prepared for it and know how to cope with the stress. Here are some tips that will help.

Pregnant by a11sus, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  a11sus 

Giving birth is a divine experience. It is a long journey from the time you conceive till the time you go into labour. Being positive during this entire journey is essential. When you are halfway through your pregnancy, you will start getting comfortable with your bump. More people will know about your condition now and will advise you. It is natural to think about the coming weeks and labour during this time.

Half way through your Pregnancy:

25 weeks by mpilote, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  mpilote 

At 22 weeks, your baby will weigh a little more than 400 grams. Though that’s not much, you yourself will have gained anywhere between five to seven kilograms. Don’t fret about the increasing weight, as you will get back in shape soon after the delivery. You may have an urge to eat certain things and this is the time to indulge yourself. Just make sure that whatever you eat does not harm the baby. In the 23rd week, your baby’s hearing will develop and she will be able to listen to your voice, though not clearly. This may be a good time to start communicating with your unborn child. Some people even suggest listening to classical or divine music, which will soothe the child. There will be further changes in your body, like a growing bump and shifting of the centre of gravity. However, this is the best time when you can travel a bit and take a holiday before you become seriously busy with your newborn.

Six months of pregnancy:

At six months, your baby will start developing layers of fat and resemble a newborn. Senses of sight and brain developments are also more active during this phase. Regular checkups and tests for blood pressure, weight and urine will be common. Your little one will weigh around one kilogram when you are in the sixth month of pregnancy. Her movements can be felt now; it’s almost like she is waiting to come into this world.

Stages of Labour:

When you are finally in the labour stage, you will experience a surge of emotions. Actually, the labour stage itself has three stages.

First Stage of Labour:

In the first stage, would be mothers experience contractions with long gaps in between. The water generally breaks during this stage; and that is when you must inform your doctor or shift to the hospital. While some women have an early first stage and slowly move to the next one, others will take lesser time.

Second Stage of Labour:

The second stage is when the real action happens; this is when the baby is delivered. Many times, during labour, the breathing may become short and stressed, since you will feel pain and a sudden surge in hormonal levels. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb enough oxygen. If you practice some breathing exercises, this stage will be easier and you will be able to go through the labour in a smooth manner. The technique is to breathe in a systematic, rhythmic style. You must breathe in and out slowly, noticing the rhythm that your breath follows. The out-breath can be a little longer than the in-breath. Chant the word ‘relax’ while breathing. When you breathe in air, say ‘re’ and while breathing out, say ‘lax’. It is best to practice this breathing technique during your pregnancy, so that it is easy to follow the same when you are in the labour room. This really works wonders and helps to maintain a higher level of oxygen in the body for you and your baby.

Your midwife will help you with the breathing and tell you when to start pushing. The dilation must be a maximum of 10 cm to allow the baby enough space to come out. The time that is taken for this stage of labour differs for every woman. It may stretch from 10 minutes to half an hour. At the end of this stage, the midwife or nurse will cut the baby’s cord. This is a moment of elation, as well as anxiety. You will feel relieved and tired.

Third Stage of Labour:

The third stage is the ‘afterbirth’ or delivering the placenta. This stage may be assisted or unassisted. Be positive and have a great labour.