The first step to have a normal childbirth is to know your prenatal life comprehensively. So that you don’t miss anything, read about the pregnancy and trimesters (the three stages of pregnancy). The first, second and third trimester have different conditions and care plans. Follow them so you don’t have to suffer later.
Let’s discuss the NVD (normal vaginal delivery and then about the tips to have one.
What is NVD?
Normal vaginal delivery or normal childbirth is the process which takes place without any form of medical intervention. Nowadays, to speed up the delivery process and reduce the pain medications might be used, you can choose not to opt for any medical intervention. A normal delivery is, in other words, a completely natural delivery of a baby by the mother without any medical intervention.
During normal or vaginal delivery the main focus is on that, what position is convenient for the mother while delivering the baby. The mother can lead the whole process of labor and delivery. The doctor and attending nurses, aid her while being alert for any kind of emergencies.
What are the stages of normal vaginal delivery?
There are three major stages you will undergo during normal childbirth:
- Cervical effacement and dilation
- Pushing & birth of the baby
- Delivering the placenta
Cervical effacement and dilation
For the baby to be born, the cervix needs to become malleable, soften and stretch so that the baby can be delivered. This is the first stage of normal delivery
During the first stage of labor, the cervix dilates and thins out (effaces) to allow the baby to move into the birth canal.
This first stage can last for up to 13 hours for a woman who is delivering a baby for the first time, and for seven to eight hours for a second or third child. Contractions occur which helps to dilate the cervix.
This first stage has three sub-stages:
- Early labour: At this stage the mother can continue to perform her usual activities, drink plenty of water and need to relax. The cervix of the mother opens to about 4 centimetres. You will probably spend most of the early labour at home. Mother needs to keep track of the contractions. With time the contractions grow stronger and when the expectant mother gets more frequent and stronger contractions and it reaches to the point where she’s not able to talk during contractions, it means she has moved to the stage of active labour.
- Active labour: At this stage, the cervix of the mother may open from 4 to 7 centimetres. Mother should be taken to the hospital at this stage. The contractions occur every 3 to 4 minutes and each of them lasts for about 60 seconds. These contractions show that the cervix is opening faster (about 1 centimetre per hour). The water may break causing a gush of fluid progressively. The contraction speed up once the water breaks. The expectant mother at this stage needs to relax. Relaxing in between the contractions is very important as it will help the cervix to widen. The expectant mother can also soak herself in a tub which will ease the discomfort.
- Transitioning to the second stage: The cervix at this stage opens from 7 to 10 cms. This is the most painful and stressful part of the labour for most women as the cervix widens up to its fullest. The contractions occur every two to three minutes and last for upto 60 to 90 seconds. The mother at this stage may feel a strong urge to push because she feels the pressure in the rectal area and stinging in the vaginal area, as the baby’s head slowly moves down toward the vaginal opening. But she should not push at this stage and wait for her health caregiver to give the go-ahead to start pushing. The health caregiver will give the signal once the cervix is fully dilated. The expectant mother may feel fatigued, irritated, nauseous and alternately hot or cold. Slow and relaxed breathing is highly effective during this period.
Pushing the baby out:
The second stage of the labour begins right after the dilation of the cervix, the contractions at this stage continue to be stronger. The frequent contractions help to push the baby down head first through the birth canal. The mother will feel an intense pressure similar to the urge while undergoing a bowel movement. The doctor may ask the mother to push further. The mother may feel highly irritated at this stage and may alternate between wanting to be touched or being left alone. She may be feel nauseous and highly fatigued. The intensity at the end of the first stage of labour will continue in this pushing phase. The mother may experience intense pain around the vagina and the surrounding pelvic areas as the baby’s head protrudes through the vaginal opening. It is at this stage that the attending doctor may decide to perform an episiotomy, i.e. an incision made in the area between the vagina and the rectum to widen the vaginal opening so that the baby can emerge smoothly if required. The mother may be asked to push gently or slowly as the rest of your baby’s head and body emerge, till the baby finally emerges into this world.
Delivering the placenta:
After the birth of the baby, the contractions continue to push out the placenta, a process also known as the afterbirth. The delivery of the placenta can take from a few minutes to a half hour after the baby is born.
The healthcare provider may ask the mother to place the baby on her breast, as this stimulates uterine contractions. Alternatively, the healthcare attendant may gently massage the new mother’s abdomen to help stimulate placental separation.
Most babies are ready to nurse a few minutes immediately after birth while others may take a little longer. Healthcare providers usually ask the mother to nurse the child as soon as possible after birth, provided the mother is willing to breastfeed.
Nursing right after birth also helps the uterus to contract and so decrease the amount of bleeding.
What are the benefits of normal vaginal delivery?
The benefits of vaginal delivery include:
- Infection rate is low
- You don’t need to stay in the hospital for longer duration
- The recovery is quick compared to caesarean
- babies have a lower risk of suffering from respiratory problems
- no post-surgical haemorrhaging
What are the risks of NVD?
The mother may face following risks before and during the normal vaginal delivery:
- vaginal tear
- fetal distress
- rupture of the uterus
- reduced oxygen supply to the baby)
- umbilical cord prolapse which occurs when the cord comes out before the baby
- if the mother suffers from any infections, it may be passed on from the mother to the child
- tears in the perineum
- the baby is emerging buttocks/feet first (breech position)
- the baby is emerging shoulder first
- there is more than one baby
- the size of the baby is big
- cephalopelvic disproportion (when a baby cannot fit through a pelvis due to the small size of the mother’s pelvis)
- undetected placenta previa, meaning the placenta covers the cervix
After the normal delivery:
- damage to the pelvic floor due to which the woman may suffer from temporary or chronic pelvic pain
- pelvic organ prolapse which occurs when the bladder, uterus and/or rectum protrude into the vagina or outside the vaginal opening
- retained placenta
- urinary leakage with sudden coughing, sneezing, or laughing post delivery
- postpartum haemorrhage
- anaesthesia (if used) related complications
What complications may occur after the normal delivery?
- Vaginal discharge and bleeding: You will experience heavy bleeding with bright red flow for the first few days after the delivery as it happens during the monthly periods. Later the bleeding spots turn into pink or brown or yellow or white. You immediately need to call your doctor if it is associated with fever or you have extra bleeding and need to change the sanitary pads every hour or you are passing the clots with bleeding.
- Vaginal soreness: Some people may experience vaginal tear during delivery, so if you had a tear the wound may hurt for up to six weeks, though if the tearing was severe it could take more time than that to heal. It can be painful while sitting, you can use a pillow that helps you to sit down with any pressure on the perineum or you can place an ice pad between the sanitary napkin and the wound which will provide some relief from the pain.
Make sure you take your painkillers and stool softeners so that as recommended by your doctor.
- Pain while urinating or having bowel movements: As the tissue around your bladder and urethra may be swollen or bruised, you may find it painful to urinate. Doing Kegel exercises during this period will help. It will tone your pelvic muscles. Don’t forget to take doctor’s advice before doing exercise.
How to do kegel exercise?
Once you know what the movement feels like, do Kegel exercises 3 times a day:
- Make sure your bladder is empty, then sit or lie down.
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Hold tight and count 3 to 5 seconds.
- Relax the muscles and count 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times, 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, and night).
Breathe deeply and relax your body when you are doing these exercises. Make sure you are not tightening your stomach, thigh, buttock, or chest muscles.
After 4 to 6 weeks, you should feel better and have fewer symptoms. Keep doing the exercises, but do not increase how many you do. Overdoing it can lead to straining when you urinate or move your bowels
What are the tips for normal child birth?
Stay away for the stress:
You need to stay calm and relaxed throughout your pregnancy to avoid any complications. You may have mood swings and lethargic feelings at this time but all you need to bring positivity in your environment.
- Do meditation
- Listen to the music that makes you feel good
- Read a positive book
- Recite Quran
- Stay away from negativity and try to talk about positive things
- Acquire knowledge about birth
- Get emotional support from your family
Get Regular perineal massage:
Perineal massage is gentle, manual stretching of your pelvic floor to prepare the muscles and skin between your vagina and rectum for the birth of your baby. The goal is to reduce the risk of tearing and scarring when you deliver. It should start in the 7th month. It helps to reduce the risk of perineal tearing and damage, reduce the risk of episiotomy, prevent scarring, reduce postpartum pain associated with tears and trauma, reduce risk of postpartum urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence.
Perineal massage may be more helpful if this is your first vaginal delivery and might be especially beneficial if you have a very tight pelvic floor and have experienced a pelvic floor.
Being dehydrated during your pregnancy may be harmful and can cause several conditions. You need extra water during pregnancy for better blood flow, which controls your pregnancy. Increase your water intake, 7-8 glasses from usual routine. You can take fresh juices and fruits to fulfill the need.
Increase your stamina:
Increase your stamina for bearing pain. Hold an ice cube in your hand and let it melt. It will help you learn, increasing the pain bearing stamina.
Keep a check on your posture:
it is very important to maintain a good posture. As, position means a lot in the delivery process.
- Don’t droop so much
- Do not rush on the stairs
- Use supports while sitting
Try not to put on extra weight:
Mostly, women start eating more than usual when they get pregnant which is wrong. Extra fat can cause complications to your baby during delivery and you may lose your chances of having a normal delivery.
Eat healthy food throughout your pregnancy. You can take fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products. Eat protein and starch, also iron is essential during pregnancy. So choose your diet wisely. Try to avoid junk food to avoid diarrhea or food poisoning
This is the most common and important tip of having normal vaginal delivery. Don’t just sit and eat when you’re expecting a baby. Move your body, walk, do regular exercise, yoga and most of it. You just carry on your normal routine work, specifically in the last days of your pregnancy so that your baby moves downward and makes it easy for you to deliver.
Recommended exercises are;
This is the simplest, most accessible exercise in pregnancy. Make sure to wear a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes while walking. Visit a running shoe store to get a free consultation on the specific kind of support you need for your feet and how you walk. A trained sales associate will be able to tell you if you need more of an arch or a flat shoe. If you find that your lower back or pelvis hurts during a walk, try wearing a back or pelvis brace for extra support. For severe back or pelvic pain, see a prenatal physical therapist to determine what kind of support and strengthening exercises are needed. Walking every day for about 30 to 40 minutes ensures that your body is not sedentary and also keeps your heart healthy. Carry on in a comfortable and consistent speed, and do not forget to sway your arms and enjoy the activity.
Swimming or water aerobics
Swimming, besides feeling amazing during pregnancy, is a great exercise because the water takes the weight and stress off your joints and ligaments, allowing you to move with little or no discomfort. Swimming laps or doing water aerobics, on your own or in a class, is a great way to safely and comfortably raise your heart rate.
Prenatal yoga or Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are ideal during pregnancy, not only because of the gentle pregnancy-friendly movements, but also because of their focus on strengthening your core and pelvic floor, which helps with stability, comfort, and labor and birth. If you’re searching for a good class to attend, be sure to look for a pregnancy-specific class with instructors who are certified in teaching prenatal classes.
Body exercises and toning work
If you’re looking to tone muscles and improve strength, simple exercises like squats, arm lifts with low-weight dumbbells, wall pushups, lunges, leg lifts, etc. are great because they are low impact and can be done easily at home
Yoga for normal delivery:
Virabhadrasana or the warrior pose:
These asanas help in strengthening back, thigh, shoulder and arm muscles. This asana also helps in increasing the stamina.
Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Pose
This asana is very effective in improving digestion. It is also effective in keeping other stomach- related problems in pregnancy at bay.
Tadasana or Palm Tree Pose
This asana helps in strengthening the spine and maintaining good physical and mental balance.
This asana helps in relieving fatigue from the inner thighs and legs.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
This asana is very good to use for strengthening thigh and pelvic muscles
It is generally a very safe pose and can be enjoyed during all three trimesters (or before pregnancy). If your knees or back feel strained in any way, try taking a slight bend in your knees, which should help release some of that tension
What are the yoga tips that may help you to get normal delivery?
Butterfly Pose Yoga widens your hips and eases pain in the lower back.
- Sit on the ground and bring the soles of your feet together, with the knees pointing outwards.
- Grasp your ankles (or feet) and draw your heels as close to your body as comfortable.
- Lean forward, hold the position, and breathe deeply.
Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga for Normal Delivery
Yoga brings a lot of health benefits for a mother-to-be, and it also helps in normal delivery.
Here I have pen down some benefits of yoga for normal delivery:
Beneficial for labour:
Yoga not only helps improve the overall health of the mother but it is also excellent for the fetal development. Yoga also helps in increasing the muscle strength and energy that aids vaginal delivery.
Helps in relieving pains:
As the pregnancy process progresses, you may experience back pain, headaches and other pains. Yoga helps in easing pains through proper blood circulation, better muscle strength, and improved breathing techniques.
Helps in getting good sleep:
Yoga reduces stress, anxiety and pain, thus relaxing the mind and body. Practising yoga helps you sleep better.
Helps in building stamina:
Yoga helps you build stamina, which may be required during the labour in case of the long labour hours.
Helps in a better birth position for your baby:
Yoga helps in improving the flexibility of pelvic muscles and bones and aids in ensuring the best birthing position for the baby.
- You must practice yoga in consultation with your doctor.
- It is very important to practice yoga asanas and various breathing techniques in the correct way.
- You should not practice lying down yoga postures that require you to lie down after your first trimester is over.
- You should also refrain from holding your breath for longer durations.
- You must exercise caution while doing balancing yoga postures.
- It is recommended to pay attention to your body’s nutrition and hydration needs before and after the session of yoga.
- You should wear comfortable clothes for yoga.
- You should refrain from over-stretching.
- You should rest after the session of yoga.
Yoga has many benefits during pregnancy. It not only keeps the would-be-mother healthy through pregnancy but is also beneficial during labour. However, you must seek medical guidance before performing or practising any yoga asanas.