This page aims to go through all aspects relating to a vaginal delivery. It is currently under construction but some of the links (those in black) will take you to our completed pages, hence why we have published it half finished!
To hear from someone who had 3 positive births, check out our blog.
If you are feel like your wishes regarding the type of delivery are not being respected, check out AIMS.
Maximising your chances of a vaginal birth
Early Signs of Labour
Firstly, don't panic! Birth is a normal and natural bodily function. Trust your body and your baby - they know what they are doing. Labour can be a slow process that builds gradually, especially for first time mums. It's important to listen to your body, rest when you can and be comfortable. If you feel like going for a walk or find yourself nesting around the house, take it easy! Relaxation and breathing techniques allow you to feel calm and in control while keeping your uterine muscles relaxed. Focus on how amazing it will feel to meet your baby!
Every labour is different,. You may experience: Braxton Hicks, lower backache, cramps, tiredness, low pressure, waters breaking, or feeling irritable and unwell. The more relaxed you can be, the less tension and pain you'll experience.
Early contractions can feel like period cramps or lower backache and become more frequent and intense over time. Call your midwife team to let them know your labour has started.
Once you're having two to three regular contractions every ten minutes, you're in established labour. Your partner can easily keep track of them by using a contraction timer app on their mobile phone. Call your midwife team to let them know you're on your way to the hospital or giving birth at home if you've planned a home birth. Don't get caught in rush hour traffic! Leave home a bit earlier if you are unsure.
What to expect in advanced labour
Baby is nearly here! As you transition through this shorter phase of labour, your mind will be focussed on your body's cues and signals. You'll want lots of positive encouragement from your birth partner and ask them to liaise with the midwives when possible so that you're not being disturbed. When you utilise hypnobirthing techniques and focus on your breathing, you'll release natural pain relief hormones. Move about to find a comfortable position or try using a birthing pool. Breathing steadily, only pushing if your body wants to. Keep hydrated and boost your energy with non-fizzy sugary drinks or sweet snacks. You can do this! Breathe.
Built-in pain relief
Endorphins are our feel-good hormones that are present when we exercise or feel calm and positive. This natural pain relief is more powerful than morphine and can be utilised by relaxation, positive thoughts and the support of your birth partner. How amazing is that!
While other pain relief methods are available, it's worth finding out how they can affect your choices during labour.
Many women find that induced labour is more painful than spontaneous labour, which can mean that they need additional support. This is why it is important to understand what it involves to be induced.
Forceps, Monitoring of baby etc
Maximising your chances of a vaginal birth
There are a number of things you can do to maximise your chances of having a vaginal birth:
Discuss with your midwife a birth plan, which sets out your requests for support in the choices below.
Stay at home for as long as you feel comfortable and confident.
Wait till your waters break spontaneously.
Choose to have the baby’s heartbeat listened to with a stethoscope or a handheld Sonicaid (a ‘Doppler’) rather than being strapped to an electronic fetal heart rate monitor.
Avoid having an oxytocin drip to ‘speed up’ labour.
As long as your labour is progressing, tell your midwife you do not be tied to strict time limits on how long the first or second stage of labour should be.
Keep moving around, changing position, being upright – follow your instincts.
If you have one-to-one support throughout your labour, this will also reduce the chance of your having a caesarean.
For more on a vaginal birth after a caesarean, click here.
Source: NHS, www.aims.org.uk, NCT.org.uk
Information accurate at the time of publication.