General Article What is childbirth?

Topic Selected: Pregnancy Book Volume: 394

As a general rule, childbirth takes place after nine months of pregnancy, however, it can occur prematurely. Labour happens in three stages, but established labour is achieved when the cervix is dilated to 3cm. Childbirth is different for every mother and infant, with different delivery methods, positions and pain relief options available.

As childbirth can be painful, there are various options of pain relief to choose from:

  • Self-help: by being more relaxed in labour it is likely to be less painful. Keeping moving, having a bath, having a massage and deep breathing can all help to relax you.
  • Gas and air: a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide can make the pain of labour more manageable. It is given via a mask held by yourself.
  • Pethidine injections: this is injected into your thigh or buttock and helps you to relax, lasting for up to four hours.
  • Epidural: this is a form of local anaesthetic which numbs the nerves carrying pain signals from the birth canal to the brain. For many women...

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