Labor & Delivery Care
The health care providers at Rock Hill GYN & OB in Rock Hill and Fort Mill, SC, hope to facilitate a positive and fulfilling labor and delivery experience for all of the mothers-to-be that we assist during this exciting time. No two birth experiences are completely alike, so what you go through may not be exactly the same as what a friend or family member went through. Additionally, you could have completely different experience from one birth to the next. Regardless of what happens, the ultimate goal is for the end result to be a healthy mother and healthy baby.
The Three Stages of Labor
There are three stages that occur during the labor process. By learning about them you can better prepare yourself for what may happen. This not only assists with your birth plan but will provide you with confidence to assuage anxiety that can occur as a result of not knowing what to expect. These stages are for a vaginal delivery that is not induced. If you have a planned induction or cesarean, your experience will be different but that does not make it any less special or unique. Talk to your doctor about what to expect from these birthing experiences.
There are two components to stage one, beginning with early labor followed by active labor.
Early Labor: During early labor, you will begin to feel irregular contractions that may be uncomfortable but not painful. Some women may not even notice them at first. This means that your cervix is beginning to dilate and efface. You may be in early labor for several hours or for several days. The best thing to do during early labor is to relax and focus on comfort. Many women will go for a walk, take a shower, have a snack. You may experience something called “bloody show” but do not be alarmed. This is just a sign that your mucus plug has loosened. If you experience significant, heavy bleeding however, then you should contact your doctor. Additionally, if your water breaks you should call your doctor and potentially head to your hospital or birthing center.
Active Labor: During active labor your contractions will become stronger, closer together, and occur more frequently. This is when your cervix is dilating from 6 cm to the full 10 cm. Your water may break during this time and you might start to feel nausea and extreme discomfort. Just keep breathing and stay calm. If you have not traveled to the hospital yet, now is the time to head that way. The length of time varies for active labor. You may choose to have an epidural at this time, which could slow down your labor process. Transition is the final part of active labor where your contractions are very close together. This is when you may start feeling the urge to push so you should let your nurse or doctor know. Again, the presence of an epidural or other pain relief medication could slow this down.
This may seem surprising, but your baby is born during stage 2 of delivery. The process of pushing can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. As you push during a contraction, avoid holding tension in your face and neck. Think about where your baby is coming out of and focus your energy to that area. After the head is delivered followed by the rest of the body, your baby may need to have his or her airway cleared. Then you can hold him or her in your arms. The umbilical cord will be cut, and other routine items will follow. Many mothers prefer to hold their baby with skin-to-skin contact after they are born. Talk to your health care provider about your wants and preferences for the immediate aftermath of your baby being born.
The labor and delivery process is not over once your baby is born. The third and final stage of this process is delivering the placenta. You can still hold your baby while this is happening, so just relax and soak in the moment. This is a good time to try to establish breastfeeding if that is your plan, but do not feel stress. You will feel mild contractions and your doctor may ask you to push to deliver the placenta. After the placenta is delivered your doctor will massage your abdomen to help your uterus contract. If you experienced any tearing or had an episiotomy, you may need to have stitches at this time.
Schedule Your Appointment
Receive the labor and delivery care you deserve so your baby has a healthy and safe entry into the world. Contact us to schedule an appointment.