Midwives believe that the pain of normal labour plays an important role in the physiology of the birth process. Pain allows us to accurately assess the progress of labour.
For more information about your pharmocological and non-pharmocological pain management options, please talk to you midwife or doctor.
Please refer to the Midwifery Roles in the Labour and Birth Suite for more details.
Every woman is a unique individual who will experience labour and birth differently. Care will be tailored to your individual needs and preferences. You can expect your labour to be regularly assessed in the following ways:
You are in charge of your own labour and birth. Always discuss your concerns with your midwife so any necessary decisions are based on accurate information.
It is usually best to maintain an upright position and be mobile and active during labour. An active labour helps the baby to maintain or turn into the optimal anterior position. An upright position will also encourage effective uterine contractions, shorten the latent phase of labour and reduce the need for analgesia. It is best to discuss with your midwife the positions for labour that will be beneficial to you.
As labour progresses women will try a variety of different positions. The most important thing is to remain open to the idea of ‘moving around’, whether this be standing, walking, in the shower, bath, on the bed, or over a bean bag on the floor.
Every woman experiences labour differently. The stages of labour are:
Stage 1 - from the onset of regular contractions until
the cervix is fully open (10cm). It is the contractions
of the uterus that thin and open the cervix.
Stage 2 - from full dilatation of the cervix until the baby is born
Stage 3 - from the birth of the baby until the delivery of the placenta and membranes
Stage 4 - from the delivery of the placenta through to early postnatal care
It is not always easy for women to know when labour has started. Contractions will gradually (or maybe quickly) get closer together, get stronger and last longer.
It is important to contact your midwife or health care provider to discuss when to come to hospital or any concerns you may have.
The best methods for determining the status of labour are:
Your midwife will work with you to help you birth your baby with as little intervention as possible. One of the best ways to help the perineum (skin between vagina and anus) stretch is to birth your baby slowly. Your midwife will often do this best by using her voice to guide you. Sometimes watching the birth of your baby in a mirror helps you to be in control.
Tearing of the perineum may occur during birth. The following are some of the techniques midwives may recommend to help the perineum stretch.
The extent or degree of a tear is most often defined on a scale from 1-4.
Caring for Your Perineum Following the Birth of Your Baby is a KEMH produced brochure providing further information.