I am currently a doula and birth photographer (doulatog) to a wonderful couple in San Diego. Recognizing mom was worried about how she would know which stage of labor she was in, prompted me to write. I drew up an easy to read document that outlined labor stages and how to recognize them. I hope you find in beneficial.
WHAT IS PRE LABOR AND HOW WILL I KNOW I AM IN IT?
–Contractions are neither consistent nor build in intensity.
–It’s an exciting time, but don’t obsess. Go to lunch. Go to a movie. Relax, this can last a while.
–Call you doula
WHAT IS EARLY LABOR AND HOW WILL I KNOW I AM IN IT?
–contractions get more consistent and closer together–predictable.
–you may have a bit of blood or mucus when you go to the bathroom. You may have lost your mucus plug.
–your water may break
–time to really breath during the contractions. The Destresser Breath-In through your nose filling your belly 4 seconds and out through your mouth for 6 seconds. Repeat 4 times calmly. Sit on the birth ball, sway with your partner. Lean over birth ball. Whatever you are comfortable with.
MOVING INTO ACTIVE LABOR AND HOW DO I KNOW I AM IN IT?
–Contractions 3-4 minutes apart and growing in intensity.
–Time to go to the hospital
–The 4-1-1 rule. The contractions are every 4 minutes, lasting 1 minute over the course of an hour.
–mom may feel very emotional at this point, but remain calm, baby is coming!
–continue to breath with the technique above through the contractions. Sway with partner, use birth ball, rebozo and anything that is helpful for you.
WHAT IS ACTIVE LABOR AND HOW DO I KNOW I AM IN IT?
–contractions getting intense and you are dilating from 6-8 centimeters. You will be in the hospital.
–use swaying techniques, breathing, birth ball, squats, rebozo, aromatherapy, visualization, shower, counterpressure and toilet to help you.
WHAT IS TRANSITION AND HOW DO I KNOW I AM IN IT?
–This is the most intense part of labor but the shortest. The end is near!
–You are going from 8-10 centimeters.
–Contractions are practically on top of each other.
–You may feel the need to poop–this means baby is coming!
–You may feel the need to push and bear down. Please resist that urge as you could possibly tear.
–If you don’t feel that urge, try to continue the same breathing pattern you have been. If you do feel the urge-do the shallow “hee, hee, hoo, hoo” breaths
IS IT TIME TO PUSH BABY OUT AND HOW WILL I KNOW?
–your doctor or midwife will know when you are 10 centimeters and will instruct you to push.
–baby may be crowing at this point.
–Don’t hold your breath while you push as it can cause tearing. Breathe your baby out. Breath in, ideally through your nose, and breathe out to push with a guttural moan.