Do you know that it is not necessary to lie in bed during labour? In fact, you can try different labour positions to help relieve the pain while at the same time speed up the time taken until your baby arrives.
When your water breaks, contractions will only get longer and more painful until your baby finally starts to emerge from the womb.
Labour time varies from one woman to another. For some, it will be quick while others, longer.
The time starts at the moment you feel labour contraction (not braxton contraction) or when your water broke.
Note: Braxton Hicks contraction are known as false contraction. These contraction are caused by the contraction and relaxation of the uterus muscle. It may feel like tightness in the abdomen areas or similar to that of a mild menstrual cramp. It is not a sign of labour and usual happens in the 2nd trimester and third trimester.
Labour can last between 3 to 30 hours before you begin to actually give birth to your baby.
What Happens During Labour Time?
During labour, your pelvis is slowly opening.
The dilation of your cervix is another term for the opening of your pelvis.
If you observe the diagram above, you can see that your baby’s path is obstructed by a tissue. This is the cervical tissue.
In labour, the cervical tissue will dilate and eventually disappear so that your baby can pass through.
It may take up to several hours as you wait for your pelvis to open up and your baby to go down.
If you didn’t know before, gravity can help expedite the process.
Gravity acts as a natural force pulling your baby down to your pelvis.
Stages of Labour.
The stages of labour is divided into two parts: first and second stage. These stages are determined by the length of your cervical dilation.
There are three phases of the first stage. Beginning from the time your water breaks, is the first phase or also known as the Latent Phase. Your cervix is opened about 0-3 cm in this phase.
The second phase is known as the Active phase. Your cervix is dilated by 3-7cm during the active phase.
The third phase or the transition phase is when the cervix is about 7-10cm which is the time where your baby is emerging from your vagina.
In this stage, you would be focusing to push your baby out. By this stage, your cervix should be opened about 10cm and sometimes bigger.
Here’s a simple chart to illustrate how big the length of your cervix during labour.
Does The Amount of Time Between Pregnancies Affect Labour Time?
Yes and no. The result of one study shows that there are differences in labour time between women who have never given birth and those who had.
First Time Mom Vs Experienced
In the study, women who are giving birth for the first time has similar dilation time as those who have short intervals (between 5- 8 years apart) between current and previous pregnancies.
In the other hand, women who have longer intervals (in this case more than 10 years apart) between pregnancies dilates much quicker in the active phase which is contrary to common believe.
Less Than 1 Year Gap Between Pregnancies
Additionally, those who have less than 1 year interval between pregnancies may find it easier during labour but they also has a higher chance for health complication for both mother and baby.
Note: Obstetrician advice mothers to have at least 1 year apart between pregnancies.
To be standing upright itself can already aid the labour pain.
You may need help from your husband to prop you up and for support.
Making rounds around the ward or room can also help to elevate the pain and quickens the pelvic opening.
However, as you progress through the labour stages, the pain can be unbearable for you be doing laps.
We like to call this the romantic position or the slow dancing.
Sway your body in the arms of your partner. Play some soft music too!
Moreover, it not only helps with the pain but it can also help soothes the nerves of an expectant mother.
4. Lean Forward Kneel
Get on your knees and lean onto a chair or bed or anything.
This may be easier than to squat for a long time.
Place some soft flat cushion or blanket so that your knees feel more comfortable.
5. All Fours
Believe it or not, getting down on your hands and knees can also reduce the pain of the contractions.
Squat with your foot flat on the floor. Hold onto a chair or your partner for support.
Some recommend squatting in between your partners legs as they sit on a stable chair so you can easily prop your arm on their legs for support.
Stand with one foot on a chair. Make sure the chair is on a stable ground. For caution, we advise having your partner around when you decide to do this.
You can hold on to your partner for support.
If standing up and going about isn’t your thing, you can try sitting up on your labour bed to ease the pain.
If by chance, you really find yourself unable to move around too much, lying on your side can also help to relief labour pains.
Can I Perform These Labour Positions In The Hospital?
Yes! The only thing you may need to consider if you are in the government hospital is the privacy that you would have when trying the positions.
There are different classes that you can opt for in a government hospital.
For first class, you can choose to have a room for yourself or you want to share it with others.
Reasons Why Some Labour Positions May Not Be For You.
Other than any physical conditions that the mother may have naturally or before pregnancy, some labour positions may best be avoided for mothers who are planning to take epidural during labour.
Epidural During Labour.
Epidural is a process of administering local anaesthetic to shut off the labour pains that you may feel.
As result of the epidural numbing out the pain from your lower abdomen to your upper legs, there could be chances where your legs would be too weak to support your body while trying some of the labour positions like squating for instance.
So mommies, choose among the labour positions above that best fits you and may your delivery be smooth and safe for both baby and mommy!
Mason, B. E., Matulich, M. C., Swanson, K., Irwin, E. A., Rademaker, A. W., Peaceman, A. M., & Gossett, D. R. (2018). Labor Curves in Multiparous Women Related to Interbirth Intervals. American journal of perinatology, 35(14), 1429-1432.