This week you’ll experience the moment you’ve been anticipating – your face-to-face with baby! But before you can meet your baby, you have to go through labour and delivery. Labour actually consists of three stages.
- The first stage of labour, works to thin and stretch your cervix by contracting your uterus at regular intervals.
- The second stage of labour is when you push your baby into the vaginal canal and out of your body.
The third and final stage of labour is when you deliver the placenta.
- Right after birth, your doctor will suction mucus out of your baby’s mouth and nose, and you’ll hear that long-awaited first cry. Your baby may then be placed on your stomach, and the umbilical cord will be cut.
A series of quick screening tests, such as the Apgar score, will be performed to assess your baby’s responsiveness and vital signs, and she will be weighed and measured. If your pregnancy was high risk, or if a cesarean section was necessary, a Neonatologist – a doctor who specializes in newborn intensive care – will be present at your delivery to take care of your baby right away. If your baby needs any special care to adjust to life outside the womb, it will be given. And then your newborn will be placed in your waiting arms.
If you do not go into labour within a week of your due date, your doctor may recommend you for a non-stress test, which monitors fetal heart rate and movement to be sure that the baby is receiving adequate oxygen and that the nervous system is responding.
Sometimes Mother Nature may need a little coaxing. If your labour is not progressing, or if your health or your baby’s health requires it, your doctor may induce labour by artificially rupturing the membranes or by administering the hormone oxytocin or other medications. If your pregnancy is high risk, or if there are any other potential complications, you may require a cesarean section delivery.
Some women know ahead of time that they will be delivering via cesarean section and are able to schedule their baby’s birth date well in advance. If you are one of them, you have probably been able to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally for the birth – which can help to lessen the feelings of disappointment that many mothers who are unable to deliver vaginally experience.
But even if you have to undergo a cesarean section that wasn’t planned, rest assured that you would still be able to bond with your baby. It might not be the birth experience you imagined, but your beautiful newborn has arrived nonetheless. The months of waiting are over!
Congratulations! You’re with your baby!