For all possible reasons and also taking into account the potential benefits, all pregnant women are encouraged to pursue normal delivery unless there is high-risk or complicated pregnancy. However, there are special cases with valid medical reasons that are considered for C-sections.

In the subsequent paragraphs of our discussion, let us try to understand what sort of situations and experiences we come across for normal childbirth.

Definition of normal delivery

In the broadest possible sense or definition – normal delivery includes labour that begins spontaneously usually between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.

The most precise definition of normal delivery or normal childbirth

The baby is born as usual through the vagina after completing full-term and under a qualified obstetrician who involves in the complete process of delivery by supporting the woman deliver the child. To help the delivery of medical interventions including rupture of membrane, stitching and pain relief medications, epidurals may be used. An experienced and expert obstetrician’s support, instructions, advice, counselling and regular follow-ups and monitoring throughout the pregnancy period prove indispensable for normal delivery.

Stages of Labour and Birth

Labour is unique for every woman. In some cases, it completes in a matter of hours – and in other cases – a woman’s physical, mental and emotional toughness is challenged or tested.

A better understanding of the typical sequence of events – helps you to prepare well in advance if you are an expecting mother.

Stage 1Early labour and active labour

It begins as you feel regular contractions – when this happens the cervix dilates, opens and softens. The dilated cervix allows the baby to move into the birth canal.

This stage is the longest and therefore divided into two phases: Early labour and active labour.

Early labour

During this time, you will feel mild and irregular contractions as your cervix dilates.

Duration: It is unpredictable as it lasts for a few hours to days.

What should you do?

Early labour is not so uncomfortable for many women. It is better if you remain calm and relaxed. To minimize discomfort, you can take a shower, indulge in breathing exercises and change positions.

Note: During this period if you notice any water breaks or have vaginal bleeding call your obstetrician straightaway. 

Active labour

During this period, your cervix continues to dilate from almost 5 to 10 cm. The contractions become prominent, strong, close and regular. The pressure in your back increases, you feel your water breaking, you may feel nauseated and cramps may develop in your legs. This is the time for you to head towards the labour room of the nearest delivery facility or centre.

As the labour progresses, your excitement wanes and pain intensifies. There is a provision for pain relief medication – if you want you can opt. Your team of obstetricians, nurses and others will help you make the best choice depending on your condition. It is you who can genuinely judge the need for pain relief for yourself.

Duration: May last for up to 5 to 8 hours or more. On average, your cervix will open by 1 cm per hour.

What should you do?

Follow the instructions of your obstetrician, health care team and labour coach. Ask your team for suggestions to overcome pain and discomfort. When you are in a labour room, you will be under close monitoring.

The active labour’s last part is often painful and intense. Contractions may last for up to 1 minute. You will feel pressure in the back and an urge to push. Your obstetrician will guide you here.

Stage 2 – The birth of your baby

It can take a few minutes to a few hours for you to push your baby into the new world. First-time moms may take it longer to deliver. Pushing is done under the supervision of your obstetrician and her team. You may get suggestions from them from time to time. Once your baby is delivered, the airway is cleared if necessary. Your obstetrician will cut the umbilical cord.

Stage 3 – Delivery of the placenta

Once you deliver you will feel like a much-relieved person. Cherish the moment by holding your baby in your arms. During this time, you will deliver the placenta – which will be done within 5 to 20 minutes or maybe more. If your doctor recommends, then try breastfeeding your baby.

You may require to push one more time to deliver the placenta. You may have mild contractions. Your obstetrician carefully examines the placenta and removes it completely and carefully to prevent further bleeding and infection.

If you have any tears in your vaginal region, you may need stitches to repair those tears. If you were on epidural during the labour and childbirth period, you will not receive any anaesthetic in the area to be stitched. After delivery, your uterus continues to contract and resumes its normal size.

Immediately after a normal delivery – obstetricians often encourage skin-to-skin holding and breastfeeding within the first hour after delivery.

Bottom Line

If you want a normal delivery – then you need excellent preparation, compassionate support of an expert obstetrician, a positive attitude, a caring family – a good and supportive staff during labour. In addition, your lifestyle, activity levels, nutritional status, overall health status, regular follow-ups, counselling and screening are the vital factors for ensuring normal delivery.

If you still have any concerns regarding the best possible preparative measures that you can adopt to ensure normal delivery – meet me personally to learn more about the dos and don’ts of your work up to normal delivery.