When To Call Your Doula?
After a Midwife or Doctor appointment
I love to hear any updates from prenatal appointments. Feel free to communicate through text or email unless something significant has changed since we last spoke. In that case, please call.
Consistent Contractions For One Hour
Every labor pattern is different. No two women are exactly the same. As a general rule of thumb though active labor is usually indicated by contractions that are consistent for one hour. Give me a call (or have your partner do so) and let's discuss length, frequency, and intensity.
If Your Water Breaks
If your water gushes or if you suspect a leak, please call your midwife/doctor FIRST! Then call me. Remember COAT.. Color, Odor, Amount, and Time. Your midwife/doctor will also want to know these details.
Other Early Labor Signs
Upset Stomach, loose bowels, bloody show. Generally feeling poorly.
What Are The Stages Of Labor?
There are three stages of labor.
The first stage of labor happens in two phases: early labor and active labor. Typically, it is the longest stage of the process.
During Early Labor:
- The opening of the uterus, called the cervix, starts to thin and and open wider, or dilate.
- Contractions get stronger, last 30 days to 60 seconds, and come every 5 to 20 minutes.
- The woman may have a clear or slightly bloody discharge, called "the bloody show".
A woman may experience this phase for up to 20 hours, especially if she is giving birth for the first time.
During Active Labor:
- Contractions become stronger, longer, and more painful.
- Contractions come closer together, meaning that the woman may not have much time as before to relax in between.
- The woman may feel pressure in her lower back.
- The cervix begins dilating faster.
- Baby starts to move into the birth canal.
During Stage 2:
At this stage, the cervix reaches full dilation, meaning that it is as open as it needs to be for delivery (10 centimeters). The woman's body will begin to push or bear down to help the baby move through the birth canal.
- The woman may feel pressure on her rectum as the baby's head moves through the vagina.
- She may feel the urge to push, as if having a bowel movement. Women have often described this sensation as a "reverse throw up".
- The baby's head starts to show in the vaginal opening (this is known as crowning).
- Mom can reach down and grab her baby if she is able or the provider may guide the baby out of the vagina. This is totally up to the Mom.
This stage can last 20 minutes to several hours. It usually lasts longer for first-time mothers and for those who receive pain medications or have augmented labors.
During Stage 3:
Once baby comes out, the health care provider (upon request) should wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating, ensuring baby gets all vital nutrients into it's body from the placenta. Mom/Dad or the provider may then cut the umbilical cord if the family has not chosen to have a lotus birth.
The placenta is the organ that gives the baby food and oxygen through the umbilical cord during pregnancy. After birth the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus and also comes down and out of the birth canal. Majority of the time the placenta comes out full on it's own, other times it may require a little cough or tug from Mom/provider.
- Contractions begin 5 to 10 minutes after the baby is delivered.
- The woman may have chills or feel shaky from the rush of adrenaline and hormones.
Why An Upright Birth?
- Available space in the pelvis can be increased by 28%-30% while standing or squatting, as opposed to laying flat on your back.
- Contractions are more effective.
- 23% less likely to need medical assistance.
- Baby is 54% less likely to become distressed.
- Shorter labor and over 30% reduction in emergency c-sections.
- Reduced desire/need for epidural or other pain meds.