A vaginal birth is the most common way for a baby to be born. Approximately 60% of babies are born vaginally without any intervention. Your baby can be born vaginally at home, in Queen's Birth Centre or in the Labour Ward and you will be supported by a midwife during this process
Your baby is born in the second stage of labour. This when your cervix is fully dilated, and the baby begins to move down the birth canal towards the entrance to your vagina. You may want to try different positions to get comfortable during this stage such as kneeling or squatting. You will get an urge to push which may feel as if you need to do a poo. It is your body’s way of helping your baby to be born.
You will be encouraged to push with these urges by your midwife. If you have had an epidural for pain relief, you may not feel the urge to push immediately and if your baby is happy, you may be given some time for your body to move the baby further down the birth canal before you are encouraged to actively push.
The pushing stage can take up to 4 hours for a first baby, although you would not be actively pushing for all this time. This stage of labour can be hard work; however your midwife and birth partner will give you help, support and encouragement.
When your baby is about to be born, the midwife will ask you to stop pushing and to take short breaths. This is to allow your baby to be born slowly and to allow the time for the skin and muscles of your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) to stretch. If you need any help to deliver your baby, your baby is getting tired or your skin and muscles are not stretching to allow the birth of your baby, your midwife may suggest a small cut or episiotomy, to aid the delivery of your baby. You will receive a small injection of local anaesthetic into the area prior to this.
Once your baby’s head is born the rest of the baby will follow within the next 1-2 contractions. You’ll be able to meet your baby and enjoy skin to skin time with them as you get to know them.
If you require any stitches following your vaginal delivery you will receive a further dose of local anaesthetic and a midwife or doctor will stitch the areas closed as soon as possible after the birth.