40 Weeks Pregnant

Lesson of the Week: Labor and Delivery

There are two ways to deliver your baby: vaginally and by cesarean section. Many women know ahead of time that they will have a C-section, based on the orientation of the baby (whether or not your baby is head first) or other health concerns. Delivering vaginally requires going through the stages of labor to get to the end point.
 
The Stages of Labor
There are three stages of labor:
 
  • The first stage of labor works to thin and stretch your cervix by contracting your uterus at regular intervals
     
  • The second stage of labor is when you push your baby into the vaginal canal and out of your body
     
  • The third and final stage of labor involves delivering the placenta.
     
Cesarean Section
Some women know ahead of time that they will be delivering via cesarean section (C-section) and are able to schedule their baby's "birthday" well in advance. Preparing for a cesarean section may lessen the feelings of disappointment that some mothers feel when they are unable to deliver their baby vaginally. However, even if you have to undergo a cesarean section -- planned or unplanned -- you will still be able to bond with your baby.
 
A C-section is a surgical procedure. You will receive an anesthetic so that you do not feel pain. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, your healthcare provider will make an incision across your lower abdomen -- just above the hair line. He or she will then cut through your abdominal muscles and your uterus and lift your baby out.
 
Pregnancy and Pain

Week by Week Pregnancy

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