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Labor & Delivery

Labor & Delivery

Labor and delivery refer to the process of childbirth, from the onset of contractions to the delivery of the baby and the placenta. Labour is typically divided into three stages: early labor, active labor, and the delivery of the baby. Each stage involves different physical changes and sensations, and understanding these can help you prepare mentally and physically for the birthing experience.

Labor and Delivery

The Labor Process

Signs of Labor

Labor can begin with a variety of signs, including:

  • Regular contractions: These become more intense and closer together over time.
  • Lower back pain or cramping: This pain doesn’t go away and may intensify.
  • Bloody show: A bloody or brownish discharge indicating that the cervix is beginning to dilate.
  • Water breaking: This can be a sudden gush or a slow trickle of amniotic fluid.

When to go hospital?

It’s important to know when it’s time to head to the hospital or birthing centre:

  • Contractions: Follow the 5-1-1 rule: contractions are five minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds each, for at least an hour.
  • Water breaking: Even if contractions haven’t started, if your water breaks, you should go to the hospital.
  • Heavy bleeding: Any significant bleeding should be reported immediately.
  • Decreased fetal movement: If you notice a significant reduction in your baby’s movements, seek medical attention.

Stages of Labor

  • Early Labor: The cervix begins to dilate and efface. This stage can last several hours to days and is characterized by mild, irregular contractions. It’s a good time to stay at home, relax, and prepare for active labor.
  • Active Labor: The cervix dilates from 6 to 10 centimeters. Contractions become more intense, regular, and closer together. It’s usually time to go to the hospital. This stage lasts an average of 4-8 hours.
  • Transition Phase: The final phase before pushing, where the cervix dilates fully to 10 centimeters. Contractions are very strong and close together. This is often the most intense part of labor but is also the shortest, typically lasting 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Delivery Options

  •  Vaginal Delivery: This is the most common type of childbirth. During vaginal delivery, the baby is born through the birth canal. Benefits include a shorter recovery time and lower risk of certain complications. Most women will experience some tearing, which is usually repaired immediately after birth.
  • Cesarean Section (C-section): A C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver the baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. It may be planned due to medical reasons or performed urgently if complications arise during labor. C-sections can be life-saving but come with a longer recovery time and potential risks such as infection or blood loss.
  • Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC): VBAC allows women who have had a previous C-section to attempt a vaginal delivery. This option depends on the reason for the initial C-section and other health factors. VBAC can offer a shorter recovery time and fewer surgical risks, but it also carries risks such as uterine rupture.
  • Assisted Deliveries: In some cases, tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor may be used to help deliver the baby. These are typically used if the labor is not progressing, or if there are concerns about the baby’s well-being. Assisted deliveries can help avoid a C-section but may cause additional bruising or swelling for the baby.

Pain Relief Options

Medicated Pain Relief

  • Epidurals: These provide significant pain relief from the waist down and are administered through a catheter placed in the lower back. Epidurals can be adjusted to provide varying levels of pain relief and are very effective, but they can also slow down labor and increase the need for other interventions.
  • Analgesics: Pain-relieving medications that can be given through an IV or injection to help reduce pain without completely numbing you. These medications can help take the edge off but may cause drowsiness or nausea.

Non-Medicated Pain Relief

  • Breathing Techniques: Practices like Lamaze can help manage pain through focused breathing. Breathing techniques can provide a sense of control and relaxation during contractions.
  • Hydrotherapy: Laboring in a warm bath or shower can help ease pain. Water can provide buoyancy and comfort, reducing the strain on your body.
  • Massage: Gentle massage can provide relief and comfort. Massage can help reduce tension and promote relaxation.

Creating a birth plan that includes your pain relief preferences can help ensure your wishes are known and respected. Discuss your options with your healthcare provider to find what works best for you.

Postpartum Care

Immediate Postpartum Care

After delivery, both mother and baby will be closely monitored. Immediate care includes:

  • Skin-to-skin contact: This promotes bonding and helps regulate the baby’s temperature and heart rate.
  • Assessments: Both mother and baby will undergo health assessments to ensure they are doing well.
  • Breastfeeding support: Lactation consultants can help initiate breastfeeding and address any challenges.

Recovery Process

The postpartum period, often referred to as the “fourth trimester,” involves physical and emotional recovery for the mother. Common aspects of recovery include:

  • Managing postpartum bleeding: It’s normal to experience bleeding and discharge for several weeks after birth.
  • Healing from tears or surgical incisions: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for caring for any stitches or incisions.
  • Breastfeeding support: Many new mothers face challenges with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants and support groups can be invaluable resources.
  • Emotional support: Postpartum emotions can range widely. It’s important to seek support from loved ones and professionals if needed.

Special Situations

  • High-Risk Pregnancies: Certain conditions, such as preeclampsia, diabetes, or multiple pregnancies, can categorize a pregnancy as high-risk. Specialized care and monitoring ensure the safety of both mother and baby. High-risk pregnancies may require more frequent check-ups and specialized interventions.
  • Premature Births: Babies born before 37 weeks may require additional care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The NICU team provides specialized support to help premature babies thrive. Premature babies may need help with breathing, feeding, and maintaining body temperature.
  • Multiple Births: Delivering twins, triplets, or more requires additional planning and care. Multiple births often involve a higher risk of complications, and a specialized team will be prepared to handle these situations. Delivery plans for multiples may include planned C-sections or closely monitored vaginal births.

Why Choose Shukan Hospital & IVF Centre in Ahmedabad for delivery?

Choosing the right hospital for delivery is crucial for a positive childbirth experience. Here’s why Shukan Hospital & IVF Centre in Ahmedabad stands out:

  • Our team of experienced obstetricians, gynecologists, and nurses are dedicated to providing the highest level of care.
  • Our hospital is equipped with advanced medical technology and comfortable delivery rooms to ensure a safe and pleasant birthing experience.
  • We believe in delivering divine children with the advanced facility of Yoga & Garbhsanskar at Shukan Hospital from the first antenatal visit.
  • We at Shukan hospital provide physiotherapist during the vaginal delivery to make your birthing process smooth & comfortable. It also helps in postpartum care.
  • We offer a full range of services from prenatal care to postpartum support, ensuring continuous care for both mother and baby.
  • We work with you to create a personalized birth plan that respects your preferences and needs.
  • Our compassionate staff provides emotional and practical support throughout your labor and delivery journey.
  • We offer various pain relief options, including epidurals and natural methods, to ensure your comfort.
  • Specialized care and monitoring for high-risk pregnancies to ensure the best possible outcomes.
  • Our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is equipped to provide specialized care for premature and high-risk newborns.

Choosing Shukan Hospital & IVF Centre means choosing quality care, advanced facilities, and a supportive team dedicated to making your childbirth experience as smooth and comfortable as possible.


When should I go to the hospital?

Head to the hospital when contractions are regular and painful, about 5 minutes apart, or if your water breaks.

Can I change my birth plan during labor?

Yes, birth plans are flexible. Your healthcare team will support your decisions and adapt to your needs.

How long is the postpartum recovery period?

Recovery varies, but most women feel significantly better after 6 weeks. Full recovery can take a few months.

What is the ideal diet during labor?

It’s best to avoid heavy meals during labor. Light, easy-to-digest foods like fruits, yogurt, and toast can be beneficial.

How often will my baby be checked after delivery?

Your baby will undergo regular assessments to monitor their health, including weight, vitals, and reflexes.

What happens if my labor doesn’t progress as expected?

If labor doesn’t progress as anticipated, healthcare providers may recommend interventions like induction with medications or breaking the water to encourage contractions. If these methods don’t work, a C-section might be considered.

What is the difference between effacement and dilatation?

Effacement refers to the thinning of the cervix in preparation for delivery, measured in percentages. Dilatation, on the other hand, refers to the opening of the cervix, measured in centimeters.

What happens if my water breaks early?

If your water breaks before labor starts, you might be monitored more closely. If labor doesn’t begin on its own, induction may be considered to ensure a safe delivery.

How long after the baby is born can I leave the hospital?

The length of hospital stay after delivery varies, but for a vaginal birth, it’s usually around 1-2 days. For a C-section, it might be longer, typically around 3-4 days, depending on the recovery progress.

What should I expect during a postpartum checkup?

Postpartum checkups often include monitoring recovery, assessing mental health, and discussing breastfeeding concerns. You might also discuss birth control options and address any lingering questions or issues.

Are there any specific signs that I should look out for that may indicate complications after delivery?

Signs to monitor include heavy bleeding, high fever, severe pain, persistent headaches, or changes in vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

What happens if I’m overdue?

If your baby doesn’t arrive by the estimated due date, healthcare providers may offer options like inducing labor to ensure the baby’s safety and well-being.

Can I use pain relief medication during labor?

Yes, there are several pain relief options, including epidurals, analgesics, and natural methods such as hydrotherapy. Discuss your preferences with your healthcare provider to determine the best options for you.

Is it safe to travel after delivery?

Travel after delivery varies depending on your recovery. For a vaginal birth, it’s usually safe to travel after a few weeks. For a C-section, discuss with your healthcare provider before traveling to ensure a safe journey.

How can I tell the difference between false labor and real labor?

Real labor contractions are regular, last longer, and become more intense over time. False labor contractions, or Braxton Hicks, are irregular and often lessen with movement or changing positions.

What should I pack in my hospital bag?

Essentials for your hospital bag can include comfortable clothing, toiletries, your identification, and any personal items you may want during your stay. For the baby, pack essentials such as diapers, baby wipes, and clothes.

What are the common symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage?

Symptoms can include heavy bleeding, dizziness, and a rapid heart rate. If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.