Finding a pregnancy doctor is important not only for labor and delivery but for your overall health. Education about every phase of pregnancy can aid in your peace of mind and improve the outcome of your pregnancy. Your Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville obstetrician will provide the best possible experience in pregnancy care.
The Three Stages of Pregnancy
The First Trimester
The Second Trimester
The Third Trimester
Signs of Approaching Labor
Contractions are the most common sign of labor, but they are not the only sign. Other signs include the “bag of water breaking” and the “bloody show”. When the bag of water breaks, there is typically a large gush of fluid from the vagina, but it may also consist of continual leakage of small amounts of fluid. The “bloody show” is a blood-stained jelly-like, mucous discharge that occurs from cervical dilation and fracturing of some blood vessels in the cervical canal. As labor develops, the cervix begins to dilate, however, the process of cervical dilation may also occur weeks prior to the actual onset of labor. This process may also be accompanied by the passage of the “mucous plug” which is a jelly-like substance that may be expelled from the vagina as dilation and/or shortening of the cervix begins. Contractions may also begin weeks, and sometimes months before labor truly begins. It is important to know that not everyone experiences all of these signs.
Obviously, labor is a painful but natural process. If you opt for a “natural labor”, the physicians of Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville will support you through the process as will the nurses in labor and delivery. If you desire assistance in managing the pain, there are IV pain medications and epidural anesthesia that are available to help relieve the pain. More than 2.5 million of the 4 million women who give birth each year in the U.S. opt for an epidural, which blocks the nerve impulses from the lower spinal segments allowing you to experience little to no pain. IV pain medications also help in reducing the pain from the contractions.
With a vaginal delivery, the body goes through three stages: the dilation of the cervix, pushing and birth, and delivery of the placenta. During labor, contractions become closer together and more intense while the cervix dilates to 10 centimeters which is typically full dilation. At full dilation, the mother is instructed to push until the baby has been fully delivered. The placenta follows shortly, thereafter. The duration of labor is dependent on many variables such as the size of the baby, the position of the baby’s head, the size of the mother’s pelvis and the power of the contractions to name the most influential elements. Thus, the duration of labor is highly variable. The hospital stay after a vaginal delivery is typically 2 days and recovery usually takes a few weeks.
A C-section is a procedure during which the baby is removed directly from the mother’s abdomen via surgery. These procedures are done when a vaginal birth is deemed unsafe, when labor progress stops or for a multitude of other reasons including if the mother has had prior invasive uterine surgeries or prior C-sections. C-sections are performed in approximately 25% of American deliveries. Most hospital stays last 2 to 3 days, and patients are usually recovered within 6 weeks.