The countdown begins for your child to emerge, it is difficult to tell exactly at hat moment, it will happen. It’s quite scary to think that only 5% of babies are born on their due date, the rest can emerge any time between to weeks of their supposed arrival. As a mom, you wait for signs either through contractions or your water breaks.
Nobody knows what activates labour, but together with the lungs and the placenta the baby begins it’s arrival. When the lungs are mature they secrete a protein to the amniotic fluid which alters the placentas production of hormones. It slows the release of progesterone and triggers the release of a new hormone, foreign to the body, oxytosin. This initiates the contraction of the uterine wall.
Oxytocin also plays a role in inhibiting memory, this helps the mother to forget the pain of the birth and helps to bond with their babies.
Stage 1: the babies head is pressing down onto the cervix. It amazing to think that the last thing that passed through the cervix was a sperm 38 weeks ago.
The cervix needs to stretch to 10cm to allow the babies head to pass through, this is the largest part of the baby.
It’s very important to know that lying on your back will slow down labour, it’s better to stand, squat or standing as this helps to speed up the first stage of labour.
Adrenalin will pup through your body and the babies body as both of you are under tremendous stress. It also helps to prepare the lungs for the life time of work they are about to begin.
Stage 2: this begins once the cervix is open. With each contraction of the uterus, the baby is pushed further through the vagina until the head is visible. Contractions become minutes apart and the mother needs to push down hard to assist make the birth possible.
Side Note: In Pregnancy Pilates class (pregalates) we focus on teaching the mother how to strengthen and stretch the Pelvic floor muscle. We strengthen to relieve back pain while the baby grows over a nine month period as well as to prevent bladder incontinence. Imagine the Pelvic floor as a trampoline for the baby to bounce off. We stretch the pelvic floor through breathing exercises which assists in giving the muscle enough stretch to allow the baby to pass through.
As soon as the baby is delivered the lungs drain the fluid and air rushes in, expanding the air sacks as oxygen keeps the baby alive. The umbilical gets cut and all vital life systems work independently.
Stage 3: The placenta is redundant and follows after the baby out of the vagina.
The miracle of life begins.