During labour, the muscles of the uterus contract and shorten, thereby opening and pulling up your cervix into the lower part of the uterus. This action pushes the baby further down in to your pelvis. At the same time baby’s head is pushing on your cervix and together these complex actions work to facilitate dilatation (the widening of the cervix) and the birth of your baby.
There are Three Stages of Labour
The first stage is divided into three phases. The first phase is the early or latent phase of labour. It’s also commonly described as pre-labour. During this phase your cervix begins to soften, move forward and efface (thin out).
Next is the active phase – when your cervix is dilating. Your contractions become more intense, more frequent and last longer.
The final phase in the first stage of labour is transition. At this point your cervix dilates from 8-10 centimetres and your contractions are generally coming every 2-3 minutes and are lasting 60-90 seconds.
The second stage of labour is the pushing phase and birth of your baby. You are now dilated to 10 centimetres. This is the stage of labour where you push your baby down the birth canal and you meet at last! This phase is really hard work and can take up to several hours.
The third stage of labour is the birth of the placenta. This stage can take 5-15 minutes and occasionally longer.
Since early 2011, Australia has had a Paid Parental Leave scheme. This allows eligible working parents to get paid for up to 18 weeks when they take time off work to care for a new baby or recently adopted child.
Driving during pregnancy can present a unique set of risks - it pays to be as informed as possible about the facts.
Currently in Australia, there is no recommendation for pregnant women to stop driving. And it’s not illegal in any Australian State or Territory to drive during pregnancy. The same road rules apply to all drivers, pregnant or otherwise. But pregnancy itself is not a reason to stop driving.
Our understanding of exercise in pregnancy + postpartum has come a long way in the recent years, and we are much more likely to treat the “normal” pregnancy as a normal physiological process – not a disability.
Exercise in the postpartum period is helpful to regain your shape, increase your energy levels, lift your mood and give you the strength required for your new job of mothering.
Your new role will involve a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing, getting up from chairs and the floor, and holding for feeding.
After the birth of your baby there is a period of healing and physical adjustment from the effects of pregnancy as well as from your labour or delivery.
During pregnancy, there is increased pressure on the pelvic floor from your growing baby, placenta and extra fluid.