What is the definition of labour in childbirth?
Labour is the process of childbirth, which starts with the recurring contractions of the uterine muscles, this opens the cervix to let a baby to be born, and finishing with the removal of the placenta.
Describe the signs that would signal to a pregnant woman that her labour has begun.
The signs that would signal to a pregnant woman that her labour has begun are; the cervix dilating and thinning, mild to moderate contractions, amniotic membranes might rupture now, backache and/or cramps, and the mucus plug (mucus discharge) coming out.
How many hours does labour last for a first pregnancy?
A first labour lasts on average 16 hours; however this can vary a lot.
Why do you think the process is called labour?
It is called labour because it is hard work and lots of pain in it.
Describe what happens during the first stage of labour.
In the first stage of labour the cervix moves forward, shortens and opens. By the end of this stage the cervix opens to about 10 centimetres in diameter and is fully dilated.
Describe 5 methods of pain relief that can be used during this stage.
- Paracetamol: take one or two to take the edge off contractions so you can sleep.
- Bath or shower: warm water helps relax you and ease the pain of contractions.
- Massages: stimulates body to release endorphins.
- TENS: prevents pain signals from reaching your brain.
- Gas and Air: takes the edge off of contractions and pain.
Identify 2 non-pharmacological methods of pain relief and 3 pharmacological methods of pain relief. Describe the positive and negative effects for these.
2 non-pharmacological methods of pain relief are:
• Helps to relax and has no effect on the baby.
- Movement and position change
• Makes labour not as long, no effect on baby.
3 pharmacological methods of pain relief are:
- Narcotics: may cause decreased foetal heart rate unevenness and newborn respiratory depression.
• Short lag time between requesting a narcotic injection and receiving it.
• Do not interfere with labour progress or ability to push.
• Can be helpful if backache between contractions prevents rest.
• Are not very effective at relieving contraction pain.
• May confine you to bed.
• Can cause nausea.
• Can lower your blood oxygen level
• Can make you drowsy
• May make it more difficult to work with contractions
• May result in a sleepy and unresponsive baby
• Have adverse effects on newborn behaviour, including breastfeeding.
• Might increase the likelihood the baby develops addictive behaviour patterns later in life
- Nitrous Oxide
• It can be used any time during labour and at any type of birth, including home births and water births.
• It leaves the body quickly and does not impact on the baby’s health
• It can make women feel light-headed, dizzy, and nauseous and develop a dry mouth, although it has no effect on the body.
• For many women it is not strong...