What Really Happens To Your Body When You’re In Labor
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What Really Happens To Your Body When You’re In Labor


Delivering a baby is one of the most miraculous
things a woman’s body can do, and also one of the most painful. If you’re pregnant, or if you plan to get
pregnant soon, you may be wondering what actually happens to your body when you go into labor. Here’s what the experts say you should be
on the lookout for. One of the first things that happens when you go into labor is that your water breaks. OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross shares that this is
medically known as spontaneous rupture of membranes. Just like the other parts of the birth process
are different for each woman, you will experience your water breaking differently than other
women will. According to Dr. Ross:
“It may be a subtle ‘leak’ or a ‘big gush’ when your water breaks and you may or may
not have uterine contractions. But one thing is definite: early labor will
begin within hours of your water breaking.” You would think that giving birth would make you ravenous. After all, your body is doing a lot of tough
physical work. However, OB/GYN Dr. Stephanie Romero told
Splinter that’s not the case. She shared:
“People get very worried […] about not eating while they’re in labor, but you just don’t
get hungry […] and you don’t want to eat.” Despite your body working so hard to push
out your baby, you won’t get tired, either. Dr. Romero continued:
“Fight or flight [keeps] you awake and gives you the power to keep pushing. No matter what time of day someone is in labor
whether it’s 1 a.m. or 1 p.m. they are wide awake and in the moment.” Contractions are one of the more well-known parts of the labor process. When you go into labor, your uterus contracts
and starts pushing your baby out. Contractions are painful, but they’re necessary
to bring your baby into the world. In fact, your uterus is one large muscle. As you get closer to term, it will start to
contract. These early contractions, known as Braxton-Hicks
contractions, aren’t actually a sign of labor. Instead, they’re getting your body ready for
the labor that is coming in the future. Dr. Ross advises:
“Once the uterine contractions […] appear closer together with increased intensity,
this is a sign that labor has started. Regular and painful uterine contractions,
occurring every three to five minutes for two hours, are a sign early labor has begun.” Oh, god I need some drugs…I need some drugs,
I want those drugs, you don’t need those drugs I want those drugs!” While contractions are painful in and of themselves,
they can also cause other pain. Dr. Ross explains:
“Since the uterus is a large muscle, the cramping sensation of the uterus tightening mildly
may be felt in the back when the contractions first begin.” You may also feel back pain that’s unrelated
to contractions. Kay Johnson, a certified nurse-midwife, told
Parents magazine: “Normally, a baby descends the birth canal
with its face pressed against the mom’s spine. But in some cases the baby descends with its
skull hitting the mom’s spine.” Ouch! During your pregnancy there is a mucus plug that covers your cervix to help protect your
baby from infection. But as you might imagine, a lot of bodily
fluids come out of your body along with your baby, and your mucus plug is one of those. If it doesn’t come out before labor, a lot
of mucus will definitely come out during labor. Dr. Romero told Splinter:
“Some people say they’ve lost their ‘mucus plug,’ but in reality, there is no one real
‘plug.’ It’s just lots and lots of mucus in the cervix
that gets discharged and discharged and discharged. It looks like you blew your nose out of your
vagina.” “That’s terrible.” In addition to losing mucus during labor, you also lose a lot of blood. But don’t worry blood loss is perfectly normal. In fact, the body actually produces more blood
during your pregnancy specifically to prepare for labor. Even after you deliver your baby, that doesn’t
mean the blood is over. OB/GYN Dr. Shannon Clark told Splinter:
“There’s a big gush of blood that goes along with the placenta being delivered, and that
scares women a little bit. But as physicians, we’re programmed to know
what’s a normal amount of blood and what looks different and needs extra attention.” After you deliver your baby, you’ll deliver your placenta as well. Then your uterus will begin to contract to
its pre-pregnancy size. Even though it’s painful, your uterus contracting
is actually a good thing. Dr. Gaither explained:
“By clamping down, it also serves to close off all those open vessels that are present
after the placenta delivers.” Just as your cervix changes during labor, your vagina also stretches when you give birth. If you’re worried about what will happen after
you give birth, rest assured that while it won’t go back to being completely the same
as it was, it will heal and the swelling will go down. Dr. Mary Jane Minkin told Health:
“This area can feel fairly uncomfortable for some time, though it does get better within
a few weeks.” She also shared that sitting in a warm tub
can help the swelling and pain subside. And it’s all worth it.

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