Once your cervix is dilated to 10 centimeters, it’s time to push. With the help of your contractions, your baby has worked her way down your birth canal. You and your coach both may be feeling tired, but also very excited. This is a time when you need to listen to your body, continue to work with the rhythm of your contractions, and try to relax and enjoy the birth of your baby.
When your baby begins to emerge, you may feel a strong pressure and a burning or stinging sensation. This is caused by pressure from your baby’s head, which blocks the nerve endings in your vaginal area. This causes a natural anesthesia to this area. Your labor team will coach you through this time. It’s important that you don’t push your baby’s head out too quickly.
When your baby’s head comes to a full crown, your provider may suggest that you stop pushing. This is because your body already knows just what it’s supposed to do. Your uterine contractions will slowly glide your baby’s head out for you.
Just before your baby’s born, your provider may suggest that you have something called an episiotomy, although this procedure is not as common as it once was. If it is necessary, after administering a local anesthetic, your provider will make an incision in your perineum, which is the area between your vagina and rectum. This makes room for your baby to emerge from your vagina.
When your baby’s head emerges, mucus may be suctioned from her mouth. If her umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck, which is fairly common, your provider will gently unwrap the cord and then deliver the baby’s shoulders and body.
This is it! Your baby is born! Your provider will dry her off, stimulate her to cry, make sure that her umbilical cord is clamped and cut. If all is well, the baby can be placed on your tummy or be wrapped up and placed in your waiting arms.