Labour is the presence of regular uterine contractions with progressive cervical dilation (opening) and effacement (thinning). Some physiological changes that occur prior to labour are lightening 2-3 weeks before the baby is born, frequency of urination as a result of lightening and relaxation of pelvic floor muscles. Lightening or dropping is when the lower part of the abdomen expands to allow the baby’s passage and the baby moves lower down into the pelvis in preparation for delivery.
Other labour signs are low back pain, rupture of membrane or water break, increased vaginal discharge, disrupted sleep, soreness of the breast, the presence of show (a bloody mucus stain from the vagina), and painful contractions. Contractions increase in strength and frequency until the baby is delivered. It manifests as tightness of the abdominal muscle.
Breathing exercises can help to relieve some of the labour pain. In the early stage of labour, take slow, deep breaths in with your nose as one contraction starts and slowly breathe out with your mouth to release physical tension from your head to toe. Push as instructed by your caregiver, when you have contractions or feel the urge to push.
Watch Nurse Florence Akhibi break down the features of labour in this session on Signs & Stages of Labour, Nature of Contractions, Breathing Exercises, Delivery, Episiotomy & Care.
According to Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Dr. Monday Ikhile, labour should be a welcome experience if handled properly. Studies show that if pain is removed from labour, the delivery experience is palatable to the woman and she’s able to bond well with the child, reducing the risk of postpartum depression. The satisfaction of epidural anaesthesia in labour is very high and contrary to popular misconceptions, it does not cause back ache or headache. Please call 0906 002 5920 or 0706 837 2987 to take advantage of our discounted epidural rates.
Watch the session on Pain Relief in Labour below.