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Natural childbirth explained step by step: from the symptoms of the previous days to the loss of the mucous plug and labor to expulsion and then to the birth of the baby.
As the term of 40 weeks of gestation approaches, expectant mothers are wondering about the time of delivery: what will natural birth be like? How is the proximity of a birth announced? What Happens During Labor? Let’s see the answers together.
During pregnancy, the cervix is hermetically closed to protect the baby and protect its development. From the 38th week of gestation the neck begins to shorten due to the preparatory contractions. The estimated date of delivery is indicative only, and delivery can begin days or even weeks before, or after.
A pregnancy is considered full term when delivery occurs between 37 and 41 weeks; it is preterm if it occurs before the 37th week, protracted if it exceeds 41 weeks
Near the expected date of delivery, the woman may begin to experience mild pains localized on the lower abdomen: these symptoms can begin well before the time to give birth, they can be frequent or spaced out over time and usually last a few seconds. Later in time, the contractions of the uterus increase and become stronger, the belly becomes harder and pain is felt, even if for a few moments. This time frame is the so-called prodromal period, during which the fetus wedges its head into the uterine canal and loss of the mucous plug can occur.
In the 15 days preceding the birth, the woman experiences other new symptoms: the uterus is lowered and breathing is freer, digestion is less difficult and the weight is shifted down (the need to urinate also increases). The time has not yet come to leave for the hospital: at this stage it is good to remain calm and wait for the right moment with the greatest possible serenity.
The onset of labor is announced with some precise signals: the woman may observe muco-gelatinous vaginal discharge when the mucous plug is removed; then the frequency of uterine contractions increases, which become more rhythmic and at shorter intervals and are accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen and back. With the appearance of these symptoms it is good to go to the hospital to be assisted by a midwife.
A woman with her first child may have a labor ranging from 6 to 12 hours, usually longer than that of a woman who has already given birth before, which generally does not exceed 6 hours thanks to less rigidity of the birth canal . The same reason may be responsible for the greater number of operative deliveries, i.e. caesarean sections, in the case of women in their first pregnancy.