Friday, May 16, 2014

Six Ways to Progress in Labor

When preparing for childbirth it's important to understand the process of Normal Birth, to alleviate fear and simply to know what to expect in the birth process. One very important thing to understand about the Normal Birth process is how the body progresses throughout labor.

There are Six Ways to Progress in Labor
  1. Cervical Softness - Before the onset of labor, your cervix feels very firm, and softens throughout the process so it can thin and open and allow your baby to enter the birth canal.
  2. Cervical Position - Before labor, the cervix is in a posterior position, or pointing towards the backside of your body. It must come forward into an anterior position to line up with the birth canal.
  3. Cervical Effacement - The shortening of the cervix. Before labor the cervix is long and thick and firm. It must shorten so it can open and allow your baby to pass through.
  4. Cervical Dilation - The opening of the cervix from 0-10 centimeters dilation. 10 centimeters is considered "complete" and typically means it's time to push your baby out!
  5. Fetal Rotation - The baby moving to accomodate the birth canal.
  6. Baby's Station - Where the baby is in relation to the pelvis, how high or low the baby is.
Why is it Important to Understand the Six Ways to Progress in Labor?
  1. Don't be discouraged in labor. If you're stalled in one area you may be progressing in other areas!
  2. This helps you make informed decisions. If you understand what all needs to happen for your baby to be birthed, and you know one of them is not happening, you will feel more comfortable consenting to interventions that can help you. On the other hand, if interventions are being suggested but you know that you are progressing like you should, you will feel more confident refusing unnecessary interventions.

5 Steps to a Better Birth

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