One of the Wonders of Life, Vaginal Childbirth
It is one of the most beautiful, remarkable and earth shaking events ever in a mother's life. Especially when it is all over. For a woman in the process of vaginal childbirth, beauty may not be the first word coming to mind. Unassisted childbirth is, however threatened, still the most popular way of delivering a child.
Unfortunately, the percentage of chilren born vaginally continues to decrease annually. The reasons are barely defensible. It may come as a surprise to those doctors who consider themselves as privvy to a starring role, but babies are not meant to "be delivered." They are already there and they are waiting to be born! And they will come, doctor or no.
Why is Natural Vaginal Childbirth Threatened?
According to statistics the percentage of children born vaginally is currently at about 70% and falling. Cesarean section, the surgical alternative to vaginal childbirth now accounts for over one in three children born today. C-Section Vs. vaginal childbirth has been studied to determine differences in child apgar scores as well as developmenal milestone difference between babies who have come by both venues.
Although the reasons vary, "C" sections continue to grow in popularity with doctors and mothers alike. In discussing the reasons that a C-Section vs Vaginal Childbirth was employed, Mothers say doctors encouraged them and doctors say mothers requested them. For reasons not always clear, C-section dates are planned and circled on calendars and often there is a spike in occurance before major holidays.
Not surprisingly, the incidence of C-Sections increases and has proven to be co relative with the increase in number of obsteric specialist physicians and the number of medical surgical centers in a given area.
Vaginal childbirth is usually the method most doctors will recommend unless they suspect challenges. Challenges that might encourage the doctor to think about a cesarean include larger babies, smaller babies, early babies, late babies, suspected medical issues with the baby or mother, previous C Section births and multiple births. Get the picture?
Vaginal childbirth is the final natural and expected stage in what has been an amazing nine month journey for the mother and child. All roads have lead to this point. And if the moment is allowed the time and patience to unfold, the outcome is usually predictable.
Labor Stage One
The baby is ready, the mother is ready and the body is about to get ready. Notified of the impending birth by a variety of significant and small changes including the water breaking; the mother can expect to endure an unpredictable number of hours of contractions and discomfort resulting in eventual vaginal delivery. This delivery, although difficult for the mother during the process, is still considered the safest and most natural way for the mother to deliver her baby. Babies who are allowed the journey may benefit from factors difficult to document scientifically.
In cases where threats to the child's or to the mother's wellbeing have arisen or been anticipated before or during delivery, C-Section reversion and surgical intervention during delivery has helped countless children to come into the world safely.
Labor Stage Two
When the contractions have successfully inspired dialation of the mother's cervix and have reached certain predetermined levels, the mother should be relocated to or remain near to where ever she expects to give birth to the baby. In some cases she will be medicated with an epidural as the contractions get closer and closer. In some cases she will choose to allow her contractions and pain to proceed naturally.
The big moment of the unassisted natural vaginal childbirth usually starts during what is normally called the second stage of labor. In this stage there are a few signs that the medical staff look for which includes a dilation of 10 cm and the effacing of the cervix. If these two have occurred, childbirth is imminent.
The mother is encouraged to be sure she is in the position she wants to deliver from which could be anything from sitting, reclining lying down or squatting. It is up to the mother to decide, she is the one who needs to be comfortable with it for the remainder of the delivery.
During the journey down the birth canal the baby's movement greets the mother with pain, pressure and stretching which will continue through the process. This pressure begins with the spine and is felt in the tailbone and the rectum and the sensations move as the baby moves. During this time, the mother might want some TLC like a back rub or a head massage or any other number of things that might be distracting and welcome.
In Persian Cultures childbirth pangs of pain were greeted with music and belly dancing by women who did so to aid the woman in working with her contractions to bring the child into the world. She also might want an environment of silence or "play by play" announcements from her nurse or attending physician, telling her what's going on. Again, it's up to her and what she needs. Some mothers want to simply be gently supported and concentrate during the vaginal childbirth process.
Final Stage of Labor
When it is time to deliver the mother will be encouraged to push for about 10 seconds on each contraction. This is when the baby starts to make its way to and past the perineum. Usually someone has massaged the perineum to help it stretch but if has not stretched enough a surgical cut can be made to allow for more space.
When the babys head is visible it is called crowning. This is when the mother has to bear down. Once the head is out the body tends to move and rotate so that one shoulder can get out at one time. Then the first activity that takes place is the suction of the nose and mouth followed by that sweet sound of crying.