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What Can You Expect on"Labor Day"?

Lori Ramsey


Labor day is a big mystery to a lot of women. Whether you've had a baby before or not, each labor is different. The number one question on all pregnant women's mind is 'what to expect on labor day?' Labor comes in stages and how fast each stage is executed - differs from woman to woman and from labor to labor.

The first stage of labor consists of the effacement or thinning out of the cervix and the dilation of the cervix to 10 cm. The uterus contracts - much like the practice Braxton Hicks - but are stronger and last longer. Also, with Braxton Hicks contractions - when you move around they usually cease - with a true contraction - even movement won't stop them. It is a good idea to move around - this helps the body to bring on the labor better. The mucus plug may come out - or may have come out a week or so back. The plug is brownish, reddish and sometimes is accompanied by a little bleeding - known as the bloody show. The bag of waters may break in a trickle or a sudden gush. Or the bag may have to be broken by the doctor or midwife during labor later on.

To decide when to go to the hospital - should be something you have already discussed with your doctor or midwife. If you haven't and you feel labor has indeed begun, call your doctor or hospital to be advised. A lot of times it depends on how close you are to your hospital, how fast your previous labors went, etc. as to when you should go. The first stage can be very quick or can last hours - sometimes even days. Again it depends on your body and on what you do to help labor along.

When you reach 8-10 cm dilation you go through transition. This is the most challenging part of labor and is a point where a lot of women begin to doubt they can do this. Rest assured - chances are if you have made it to this point with no complications, then you should be able to get through it just fine. There is a lot of pressure - almost like you need to have a bowel movement. This is the baby coming on down and entering into the birth canal. But don't push until told to do so. Pushing at the wrong time can cause irritation to an already stretched out cervix - especially if pushing before dilation is complete. Transition can last for just a few contractions or it can last an hour or more - depending on how the baby is presenting.

The second stage of labor is by far the most exciting stage. This is the point your baby is born. This stage can last a from a few contractions to a few hours. This is where you will do your most hardest work - pushing the baby out. It is very strenuous and very rewarding.

The third stage of labor happens when the uterus contracts to expel the afterbirth or placenta. This can be painful, but with my son, I didn't feel a thing - I was too much in awe with the little baby I'd just delivered. The uterus continues to contract for a couple of days, shrinking down to it's prepregnancy size. If you breastfeed this will bring on contractions that can be mildly painful, but it's very necessary. Bleeding will continue, though slacking off with each day, for up to six weeks.

My name is Lori Ramsey. My education consists of a diploma in Business Data Processing. I also successfully completed two courses with the Famous Writers School on Basic Writing and Fiction Writing. I am a mother of two children ages 4 and 2. I am currently pregnant with my third child, due to be born in early November.

Embarking on first conception then parenting, I realize how ignorant I was at the beginning. Knowledge is power and since I have literally devoured books, magazines, and online articles on the subject of conception and pregnancy. I honestly feel I know more than the average "public" about this subject. And was shocked at how little I actually didn't know before!

My hobbies, as such, revolve around being a mother and a wife. Being a writer has been a long time dream - even to the point that I have written 16 chapters in a fiction novel and numerous articles (non published). And at present, I am focused on my pregnancy, enjoying each moment and loving the expressions on my children's faces as my belly grows. I am involved in my church, working with the nursery and am one of the leaders of the worship dance ministry. And lastly, but certainly not least, I love surfing the web!

Lori is a Contributing writer for The Baby Corner as well as for Suite 101 Preconception: Trying To Conceive.

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