Baby Ticker

Lamaze, Part 4

Bernard @ June 24, 2005, 10:44 pm -- [Week 32, Day 4]

After skipping the Lamaze class last week, I felt a little behind. I read through the booklet they gave us while the class was starting. It looks like the parts I missed were the discussions around active labor (where the cervix dilates 4-8 cm) and transition (8-10 cm). At that point, the cervix is “fully effaced” and the baby’s head can squeeze through. The baby’s skull is a little soft, which allows it to deform a bit on the way through, and some pregnancy hormones have been softening up some tissue in the mother’s body, which allows the pelvis to pull open a bit around the cartilege. The softening of tissue in the mother’s body means that she may be more easily injured with over extending — don’t help up pregnant women by pulling on their arms or she may strain her shoulder!

During this class, we discussed stage 2 of labor. This is when the baby is actually moving through the birth canal until she’s born. This is the only time where actual pushing happens. If you start to push too early, you will be pushing against the cervix since it’s not fully open, and this will cause it to swell and close up.

We saw a video of several births, which were different from what you normally see on something like Discovery Health Channel. The births you see on Discovery Health Channel generally don’t show what is happening down between the woman’s legs as the baby is coming out, and they generally show deliveries that run into some kind of trouble. In our class we got to see the whole thing (edited for time, but not really content), and for the most part they went smoothly. It’s quite messy though. I had no idea. I mean I knew it was messy, but this was more than I expected. I’m glad I’ve had some warning.

We talked about different medications and what effects they have on deliveries. We also talked about tearing and episiotomies (cutting to prevent tearing). Agnes and I took a look at a chart that lists different possible medication preferences to see where she thinks she is. The preferences are fairly detailed but they basically range from “I don’t want to feel anything” to “I don’t want any medication under any circumstances”. Agnes gave me an idea of where she thinks she is, but obviously we need to talk about it more and give it more thought.

We ended the class with some practice of our breathing. We first did two different patterns of breathing for use during active labor and transition, and then we practiced the breathing one does while pushing. I’m supposed to count for a certain duration while Agnes is pushing and when I’m done counting, she exhales, takes in a new breath and I start counting again. I need to work on this though, because I think I was counting too slow.

Unfortunately, I’ll be missing the session next week, but I’ll be there for the final session.