Updated: 7 August, 2019

As an expectant mother, most especially fist-timers, I understand you have a lot of questions about labor and giving birth generally. You are eager to find out how it works so you can be better prepared psychologically. That’s exactly what I’ll be talking about in this article: 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Labor. 

So, let’s get started. 

1.  What is Labor?

This might sound so simplistic but labor is ‘to give birth’. It is the normal process that causes a baby to be born (when the fetus and the placenta leaves the uterus.). 

2.   When Should I be Worried?

  • A normal labor occurs between 40 and 42 weeks of being pregnant. When you have labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy then that is ‘premature labor
  • Abnormal Presentation: This is a case where the position of the baby during labor is not proper. In a normal instance, the baby needs to be head down -facing the mothers back and the head ready for the cervix.
  •     Umbilical Cord Prolapse: The umbilical cord is your baby’s lifeline. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to your baby. Sometimes during labor the umbilical cord can slip out through the womb and protrude from the vagina. In such case, you should call an ambulance. 

3.  How Can I Prevent Tearing?

Tearing is common in most first-time pregnancies. The likelihood of tearing can be influenced by genetics, size of baby or baby’s head. To avoid tearing, the midwife or doctor will inject local anesthetic and make a cut. This is called an episiotomy. 

4.  What Are The Stages of Labor?

There are 3 different stages of labor, and the last one is not the arrival of your baby, but rather the delivering of the membrane and placenta. The 1st stage of labor is when your cervix begins to open and widen to around 10cm and your contraction becomes often (four minutes interval) before having the urge to push. The second stage is when your baby makes their entrance into the world. Since you are fully dilated and your cervix completely opened, you will be ready to push. The third stage is delivering of the placenta.

 5.  Can I Walk Around During Labor?

You can walk around and move about as you choose during labor. In fact most health practitioner will let you choose the position best suitable for you.

 6.  What If I Pass Out?

You won’t pass out from the pain of childbirth. Passing out is not the way the human body responds to labor. You might probably get exhausted, feel light headed. In this case, your midwife or doctor will give you oxygen to help you through it.

 7. Will I Poop While I Am Pushing?

Yes, you will poop but not much. Even at that, Doctors, midwives and labor assistants have seen a lot of it. Your goal is to push out a baby and if other things come out, just set your eyes on your goal and keep pushing. Nobody will bat an eye over that. 

8.  How Long Does Labor Last?

When it comes to labor, the amount of time it takes for each woman varies. Women in their first pregnancy tend to experience longer labor compared to those that have already given birth. In addition, the circumstances surrounding the labor may determine how long it might last. 

9. Can I Eat During Labor?

Many hospitals and delivery centre have a no eating, no drinking rule for laboring women. Thus, you are expected nutrients-dense meal during your pre –labor time. 

10. How Will I Know Labor Has Started?

There are eminent signs that your labor has started; signs such as the loss of the mucous plug, contractions becoming longer. When you feel any sign of intense weight below, make sure to call your doctor or visit the nearest hospital.

The NICHD’s National Child and Maternal Health Education Program currently works on raising awareness for expectant mothers. Information is vital to success. You need to know what works, what doesn’t and what you should do when labor starts.

Written by an in-house writer from VitalHealthRecipes.

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Chapter 1 – 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Labor

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