You’ve been waiting nine long months, and now that your due date approaches, you’re nervous about labor and delivery. At Capital Women’s Care - Bethesda, the friendly professionals understand your nervousness and are here to help during at every stage of labor and delivery. With two board-certified obstetricians, Dr. John Gschwend and Dr. Deena Kleinerman, and Nurse-Midwife Kimberly Severn, the whole team is here to support you. If you live in or near Bethesda, Maryland, and are looking for specialists in labor and delivery, find them at Capital Women’s Care. Call today to book your appointment.
As you get closer to your due date, you may start to notice signs of impending labor. One of the first labor signs is lightening, often referred to as the baby “dropping,” involves the baby’s head moving into your pelvic area. Your belly looks lower, you breathe easier, and urinate more frequently. Lightening occurs a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins.
Some women may have a bloody show or a brownish discharge. That signifies that the mucus plug that sealed your uterus has released. It happens a few days before or at the onset of labor.
Other signs mean that labor is quickly approaching include:
Labor and delivery usually occur in three stages:
Stage 1 has three phases. In the latent phase, you may feel the onset of contractions, and they become more frequent as your cervix dilates and effaces. During the active phase, your cervix dilates more quickly, and your contractions become stronger, causing some pain. In transition, your cervix reaches 10 centimeters and contractions are strong.
Stage 2 starts when your cervix dilation reaches 10 centimeters. As soon as you’re in the phase, you can start pushing. The combination of contractions and pushing moves the baby down the birth canal. As the baby’s head crowns, the doctor cleans its mouth and nose. Once that’s done, you continue to push to deliver the baby, and the umbilical cord is cut.
In stage 3, you deliver the placenta, the organ that nourished the baby throughout your pregnancy.
Labor and delivery are rarely a quick process, especially if it’s your first child. Even active labor can last 12-14 hours. Keep track of the time in between contractions once they start. As they begin occurring every 4-5 minutes, call your obstetrician or midwife. After a few questions, you’ll receive instructions about heading to the hospital.
You may need to head out right away, especially if you are:
When you’re going to need a labor and delivery specialist, call Women’s Capital Care - Bethesda or go online to book your appointment and plan for having your baby.