During a natural delivery the baby is born through the mother’s vagina. A delivery on average takes between 10 and 12 hours for the first child. A 2nd delivery generally lasts less time.
Before the baby is born, the mother has contractions. The muscles in the uterus squeeze together. Call the midwife when you have contractions, or when you are worried.
The contractions open up the cervix (the entrance of the uterus). When the cervix is open wide enough, you are ready for delivery.
To ease the pain during contractions you can:
- move around;
- use breathing techniques;
- take a bath or shower to relax;
- get aids like a hot pillow or a ball chair;
- ask for pain relief by means of a PCA-pump or an injection in the lower back, if you deliver in a hospital or birth centre. The injection can be given while you are sitting or lying.
The place of the delivery
You discuss with your midwife where you would like to deliver. In the Netherlands you can choose if you want to deliver with your midwife in your own home, in hospital or in a birth centre. If a gynaecologist monitors your pregnancy, you always deliver in hospital.
During delivery, your partner or another person of your choice can stay with you.
The midwife and/or maternity assistant will guide you during the contractions.
The midwife also checks the baby’s heartbeat and carries out an internal examination to feel if the cervix is open wide enough. If the cervix is open completely you can start pushing.
Often, the perineum tears when the baby’s head comes out. Your midwife or gynaecologist will stitch it.
The baby comes out of the vagina. The umbilical cord is cut.
10 to 30 minutes after delivery, the placenta leaves your body.