The human body is an amazing thing. It’s ability to fend off disease, perform essential functions, and harbor life until birth are a few of the most important, and amazing, feats that the human body is capable of. From the moment of conception, a woman’s body immediately begins to change in order to accommodate the internal growth of a child. As the pregnancy progresses, a woman’s body adapts to the needs of both the mother and child. We will discuss the ensuing changes of childbirth in the following text.
The First Trimester
During the first trimester, a mother’s body is building storing nutrients and trying to keep up with the demands of a growing fetus. Fatigue is a normal reaction and is often the most inhibiting during the first trimester. Many women may feel nauseated, experience frequent urination, undergo mood swings due to hormone changes, and may even be lightheaded at times. Physical attributes may include constipation, heartburn, breast changes, and vaginal changes.
The Second Trimester
Many women refers to the second trimester as one of the best parts of the pregnancy. Oftentimes, mothers are far enough along for nausea to subside and a growing uterus allows a small “baby bump” to appear. Many couples elect to find out the gender of their child during this time, which makes the second trimester an exciting period. Mothers are not too big to be uncomfortable at this stage, and preparing for a baby is an exciting task.
Physical changes during this stage may include continuing breast enlargement, weight gain, heartburn, dry skin, and Braxton Hicks contractions. In an attempt to control weight gain, many expectant mothers opt for exercise throughout pregnancy. Physical activity may be more enjoyable and attainable during this stage, as mothers are often less fatigued and have not yet experienced significant weight gain.
The Third Trimester
As a woman’s due date creeps closer, excitement and anxiety begin to grow. Unfortunately, a woman’s size and her lack of comfortable continue to increase, as well. As the uterus prepares for childbirth, the stomach may begin to protrude more. Baby’s movements will become more uncomfortable and irregular, due to limited room within the womb. However, this can be one of the most exciting periods for parents, as baby and parents begin to plan for arrival.
The Childbirth Process
Similar to pregnancy, the process of childbirth also progresses in stages. The first stage of labor itself is the longest and involves three phases. Early Labor, Active Labor, and the Transition Phase all compose the First Stage of Labor, which occurs until the cervix is fully dilated to the full 10 cm. The Second Stage of Labor occurs from the time the cervix dilates to 10 cm until the baby is delivered, and The Third Stage is the delivery of the placenta.
At any other time, the pelvis seems like a rigid structure. However, during childbirth, the pelvic bones and joints begin to soften in order to prepare for dilation of the pelvic area. The surrounding muscle, ligaments, and nerves are stretched throughout the birthing process. In fact, coccyx fractures and pubic symphysis separation is fairly common. Preparation for the muscle and bone changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth can help mothers prepare by utilizing the most effective birthing positions and providing a less strenuous labor.
In conclusion, the stages of pregnancy and childbirth may seem daunting at times. However, they are some of the most rewarding phases of life. Bringing a child into this world is a beautiful labor.