Labor and Delivery
1. Are there some early signs that a woman is about to go into labor?
Yes, let's look at some. Braxton Hicks contractions increase and become more regular. Mucus discharge will increase. The "bloody show" or pinkish glob of mucus may appear. Bowel movements (soft) will increase.
2. How can a couple tell when it is time to call their midwife?
This can be confusing sometimes, even if they have had children before. Here are some typical signs, but remember, not every one is always the same.
3. Are there ever occasions where there are no signs and suddenly the mother is in hard labor?
Yes, sometimes, but this is rare.
4. In the hospital, mothers generally are kept on their backs during labor. Is this the preferred position?
In the hospital it may be preferred due to the monitors that are hooked up to the patient. However, you will find in Exodus 1:15-18 that the Hebrew women delivered quicker and easier. They were using birthing stools. This is like squatting with support. It is less painful because of the upright position, and gravity is in the patient's favor. The cervix dilates quicker, and helps the pelvis open up wider.
5. Are episiotomies necessary?
No. Very rarely, if ever, are they necessary in a homebirth. By using (olive) oil massage on the perineum, combined with hydrotherapy and controlled pushing, tears can be generally avoided.
6. In the hospital, a woman in labor has recourse to anesthesia. What about at home?
No anesthesia is generally available, but wonderful comfort measures may be employed, such as warm baths, hydrotherapy (the use of warm moist towels), massage, and walking. In addition, the patient may stay well hydrated and rest when she wants. That will help keep her energy level and pain tolerance up.
7. What takes place in order for an eight pound or so baby to pass through the birth canal?
The pelvic joints are greatly influenced during pregnancy due to the hormones progesterone and relaxin which increase flexibility of the sacroiliac joints and the symphysis pubis to open greatly during labor. This allows the baby to pass through the birth canal.
8. After the delivery of the baby, what happens next?
There is the 3rd stage of labor, the expulsion of the placenta. By nursing her baby, a natural oxytocin is released which will cause the uterus to contract, which releases the placenta. The uterus will begin to go back to its normal size, a process called uterine involution.
A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. - John 16:21