Maternity And Child Birth

Pregnancy or maternity and subsequent childbirth are overwhelming experiences for both the mother and her family. Though childbirth is a natural occurrence and women’s bodies are predesigned to give easy and uncomplicated birth, mishaps may happen. However, such issues can also be prevented or healed. It is essential to not give in to fear and uncertainty but enjoy the overall experience as your baby will then grow faster than you realize.

What are maternity and childbirth?

Maternity or pregnancy is the natural phenomenon during which one or more babies develop within the mother’s womb. Childbirth is the phenomenon of taking developed babies into the world, outside of the internal environment of the womb.

Childbirth can occur both by vaginal delivery and caesarian section within 40 weeks of the last menstrual period, and the most common time for it is around 37 weeks. The pregnancy period consists of 3 trimesters, with each trimester being roughly 3 months. During the first trimester, the embryo is in a rapidly growing phase after it travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus and develops a placenta and other supporting structures. After 28 weeks most embryos are developed enough to survive the external environment but still need extra neonatal care. Post 37 weeks, they are fully developed and ready to be born.

How the body gets ready for labor and subsequent childbirth

Labour is the phenomenon of undergoing various contractions and other physical and hormonal changes that lead to childbirth. As one progresses towards delivery, the mother experiences many minor contractions often classified as ‘false contractions' or Braxton Hicks contractions. This prepares the uterine muscles for delivery, is hardly noticeable and doesn’t cause any major change. The cervix slowly softens and starts opening up to facilitate the easy movement of the fetus. The baby moves its head, pressing on the cervix, which is sometimes referred to as ‘lightening.’

Recognizing the onset of labor

Often, the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus ruptures, releasing all the fluid outside the body. Contractions started soon after with the onset of labor. This is also known as the breaking of water.

If labor starts normally, one may feel fidgety with frequent contractions, menstrual-like cramps, loose motion, and a frequent urge to urinate. If any such symptoms occur, immediately contact your midwife/doctor or nearby health centre.

The different stages of labor and what are their symptoms

The labor process has been differentiated into 4 stages, which are as follows.

  • 1st Stage: It again consists of the latent phase, active phase, and transition phase. The latent phase is very mild as the cervix starts to open up to enlarge up to 6 cm. During the active phase, the contractions become stronger, occurring every 5 minutes apart and extending up to 30-60 secs. The transition phase is characterized by full dilation of the uterus up to 10 cm and the baby starts to move towards the cervix pressing on the rectum. This causes the sudden discharge of faeces and urine by the mother.
  • 2nd stage: Labour starts fully as the uterus contracts forcefully, the baby starts descending the pelvic area and the mother starts to feel a violent urge to push to relieve the baby. This stage can last up to 2 hours. It’s a very emotional and painful phase for the mother and she needs complete support and medical care.
  • 3rd stage: Post-delivery of the baby, the 3rd stage results in the delivery of the placenta and other membranes and tissues around the developing baby. The mother pushes mildly for this.
  • 4th stage: This is the recovery stage also known as the postpartum stage, as the mother and newborn are relaxed. Skin-to-skin contact between the two is established to promote mother-child bonding that also benefits both by preventing an immediate congenital disorder of the baby and providing relaxation for the mother. The uterus starts contracting to its normal size, the pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature normalize, and the perineum cavity is checked for scratches, infection, or bleeding.

Hormones at play during childbirth

Hormones play a crucial part in maternity and childbirth by triggering various physical and mental changes.

  • Prostaglandin: During labor, prostaglandin helps in the dilation of the cervix and is a better response to the oxytocin hormone.
  • Oxytocin: During labor, oxytocin rises steeply leading to violent uterine contraction and associated pain. Pain is an essential part of childbirth as it signals the brain to maintain elevated levels of oxytocin to produce sufficient contractions. It also acts in conjunction with prolactin to promote lactation. During improper contractions, external oxytocin is administrated to the mother via drip feed.
  • Beta-endorphin: These are natural happy hormones that help the mother cope with extreme pain and create a dream-like feeling.
  • Relaxin: This helps to soothe the cervical muscles and increases the stretching of the pelvis to aid in the smooth passage of the baby.


Maternity and childbirth are crucial and complex phases of life. Proper antenatal care, regular health checkups, nutritious foods, a healthy lifestyle, and proper medications are essential for uncomplicated and smooth childbirth.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What happens if labor doesn’t start properly?

Labour induction is done by inserting prostaglandin into the vaginal cavity.

2. What are the primary hazards during maternity?

Alcohol, smoking, fruits like papaya and pineapple, excessive caffeine, seafood, and raw, undercooked, and pre-packed foods.

3. When is caesarian delivery done?

Complications like fetal distress, breech and shoulder dystocia of the baby, meconium fluid (green or black coloured amniotic fluid), the mother getting fatigued or losing excess blood, eclampsia (convulsions during delivery), prolonged labor, and the baby being larger than the cervix are some of the reasons to do a caesarian delivery.

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