Giving birth to a baby is always unforgettable and one of the most memorable experiences for a mother. Normal delivery is considered the most preferred method of delivery. In this article, we are going to have a look at why normal delivery is preferred and the methods to achieve it.
What is a normal delivery?
Normal delivery or vaginal delivery is the process of the birth of babies in humans through the vagina. Preferably it is the most common and safe delivery method, with lower morbidity and mortality rates than Caesarean sections (C-sections).
What are the stages of Normal labor?
There are 3 stages of labour, which are as follows:
- The first stage is known as early labor and active labor- this stage begins with the onset of contractions and finishes when the cervix is fully dilated at 10 cm. It can be further divided into latent and active labor. The latent phase is marked by a cervical dilation of 0 to 6 cm and the active phase by a cervical dilation of 6 cm to 10 cm.
- The second stage involves the baby’s birth and begins when the cervix is dilated to 10-cm and ends with the fetus’ birth. Usually, it lasts from 20 minutes to 2 hours and is defined by strong contractions and active pushing by the mother.
- The third stage involves delivery of the placenta and starts after the baby’s delivery and ends after the delivery of the placenta and usually lasts for about 5 to 30 minutes.
What are the benefits of vaginal delivery?
Normal or vaginal delivery benefits both the mother and the baby in the following ways:
- Surgery is avoided, thus resulting in a faster recovery
- The duration of stay at the hospital is very short
- The process of lactation is quickly stimulated
- There is improved immune function in the infants because the infant is exposed to the normal vaginal and gut bacteria during a normal delivery
- The chances of infant respiratory conditions, including infant respiratory distress syndrome, transient tachypnea of the newborn, and respiratory-related NICU admissions is reduced
Some of the medical indications for a Caesarean delivery are :
- Malpresentation – eg, breech, transverse lie.
- Morbidly adherent placenta or if the placenta is low-lying
- Multiple pregnancies.
- Severe hypertensive disease in pregnancy.
- Fetal conditions: distress, iso-immunisation, very low birth weight
- Failed induction of labour.
- Repeat caesarean section: see below.
- Pelvic cyst or fibroid.
- Maternal infection (eg, herpes, HIV), but see ‘Mother-to-child transmission of maternal infections’, below
What are the steps to ensure normal delivery?
Sometimes there are unavoidable medical reasons for a Caesarean delivery. In other situations, the essential steps in achieving a normal delivery are:
- To attend parental classes and frequently read about pregnancy and labor to be aware and prepared for the different problems that might occur during delivery and to learn about the different methods of delivery to be well informed about the choices
- Maintaining a healthy diet results in the healthy growth and development of the unborn baby and is important for the mother so that she faces the challenge of labour very easily. Food like coconut, fresh fruits, fresh fish, and lean meat is preferable, and liquor, smoking, and drugs should be avoided at all costs
- It is important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, edema, and urinary tract infections that are common during pregnancy. An expecting mother should drink around 8 to 10 glasses of water every day
- A woman needs to start practising breathing exercises as early as possible during pregnancy. Regular deep breathing helps relax the fetus and cope with labour stress, thus making normal delivery possible.
- Pregnant mothers need to regularly exercise as it keeps them active and helps build good stamina. Swimming and walking are the most suggested exercises for pregnant women. Doing pelvic exercises aids in smooth and normal delivery. The main objective of exercise for pregnant women is that it ensures that they battle stress efficiently during delivery
- Stress should be avoided at any cost and the pregnant mother should always be positive and happy
- Sleep should be prioritized. A pregnant woman must sleep for an average of about 8 to 10 hours to combat fatigue and keep the immune system functioning and strong. Adequate sleep is also important for the healthy and proper growth of the baby
- Unnecessary weight gain should be avoided as it hampers normal delivery
The birth of the baby is an experience of a lifetime for a woman. Sometimes a Caesarean delivery is medically inevitable. In other circumstances, pregnant women must follow all the necessary guidelines that ensures a vaginal delivery .They shouldn’t compare themselves to other women or their experiences as it might affect them emotionally.