Delivery is the process of giving birth to your baby. A healthcare provider usually supervises it. It can be vaginal or by caesarean section.
During a natural delivery, the baby is born through the mother’s vagina. Delivery on average takes between 10 and 12 hours for the first child. A second delivery generally lasts less time.
Before the baby is born, the mother has contractions. The muscles in the uterus squeeze together. Call the midwife when you have contractions or when you are worried.
The contractions open up the cervix (the entrance of the uterus). When the cervix is open wide enough, you are ready for delivery.
To ease the pain during contractions, you can:
- Move around.
- Use breathing techniques.
- Take a bath or shower to relax.
- Use aids like a hot pillow or a ball chair.
- Ask for pain relief through a PCA-pump or an injection in the lower back. This is only possible if you deliver in a hospital. The injection can be given while you are sitting or lying down.
In Nigeria, you can choose to deliver with your healthcare provider in a hospital or at a birth centre. You must attend a pre-natal hospital screening several times before the delivery in your place of choice.
If a healthcare provider monitors your pregnancy, you always deliver in the hospital.
You can ask your partner or another person of your choice to stay with you, except when it is a caesarean section.
The midwife and maternity assistant will guide you during the contractions.
The midwife also checks the baby’s heartbeat and carries out an internal examination to feel if the cervix is open wide enough. If the cervix is open entirely, you can start pushing.
Often, the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) tears when the baby’s head comes out. Your midwife or healthcare provider will stitch it.
When the baby comes out of the vagina, the umbilical cord is cut.
10 to 30 minutes after delivery, the placenta is also delivered.