Understand how your body works at the end of pregnancy and during the birth process is essential to prepare yourself for the childbirth process. When you know what is happening you can easily recognize and interpret the signs that occur in your body more effectively. Additionally you can participate fully in the process of childbirth.
Basic Anatomy of Pelvis, Uterus and Cervix
The following is the review of the basic anatomy of the pelvis (hip bone), uterus (womb) and cervix (neck of the womb) and the surrounding structures and the baby in it.
- The bones and muscles of the pelvic that support uterus will continue to grow with the baby inside it and will open the the way during delivery time.
- Uterus that wrap the baby will continue to grow in accordance with the development of the baby in it.
- Cervix isactually the part of the uterus, but cervix and uterus are composed of different tissues. During pregnancy, the cervix will thicken and close. Then, at the moment of birth, the contractions will pull the cervix into the uterus and thinning (exfoliation) and opening. When the cervix isfully open (approximately 10cm), contraction that occurs will helps the baby to move from uterus to vagina or cervix.
- The vagina that connects cervix to your outer body. In the vagina, there are many folds called rugae which will open when the baby came out through it.
What Will Happen in My Body Before Labor Begins?
Your body automatically will prepare for labor process during pregnancy. However, intensive preparations will occurs in the last weeks of pregnancy.
- Pregnancy hormones work to soften the ligaments muscles located between the bones in the pelvis which provides additional space in the pelvis for birth. During that time, you may feel uncomfortable, your joints will feel pain, and you will feel tired easily.
- Other hormones will begin to soften your cervix which is the neck of the uterus or womb. Throughout pregnancy the cervix would be closed as it serves to prop up the baby in the uterus. The delivery process occurs at the opening of the cervix. However, your cervix may have started to soften, thin, and open before labor starts. Every woman at every birth may experience different things. Some women may experience labor before her cervix fully open, while other women may experience contractions that make her cervix open 3-4 cm or more before labor starts.Your doctor may suggest to do cervix examination when delivery approaching.
- Your baby starts to move down in the pelvis. At this stage, you may feel there is a pressure on the lower abdomen and you may feel that you can breathe easier. Your family or friends might tell you if you look different. It usually occurs a few weeks before childbirth for woman who will give birth for the first time. Meanwhile, for women who had given birth, this may not happen.
- You may experience bleeding on mucous membranes. During the pregnancy, the mucous membranes is inside the cervix. When the cervix begins to soften and open, the mucous membrane will slack and slowly out through the vagina. Some women may feel an increase in mucous membrane couple of weeks before childbirth.
- Rupture of membranes may occur before delivery. In most women, the contractions will occur at the same time. You may need to tell your doctor if you feel you've broken amniotic fluid.
In addition to physical preparation, you may need to prepare your mental too. You should feel confident and ready to do the labor. Just calm yourself and save enough energy for the labor.
It's normal if you feel worry during the last period of pregnancy. But you don't need to worry too much. Just try do the following things :
- Choose what your worry and say it aloud. For example, if you are afraid to undergo a cesarean section, say "I'm afraid if I'm not able to give birth normally."
- Mention the positive qualities about yourself sometimes can overcome your anxiety. For example, "I am strong and healthy, I can definitely bear it well."
- Now, say your anxiety in a positive form. For example, "My strength is going to help me if I have to have surgery, but almost all women give birth normally. I'm strong and I would also be like them. "
- If you feel the fear was present again, repeating the positive words will help you gather positive energy.