Childbirth is one of the most divine processes of nature. A woman’s body starts preparing itself for the birth-giving process weeks before going into labor.
Just like fetal development has various stages inside the mother’s womb, childbirth too has different phases to it. The first stage is contractions. Then come pushing and crowning during delivery. Crowning is also called birth crowning or vaginal crowning. MomJunction explains what baby crowning is and what to expect during this stage of childbirth.
What Is Baby Crowning?
During labor, your baby’s head starts showing up through the vaginal opening with each contraction. A contraction develops when the uterine muscles tighten and relax for the baby to pass through the birth canal. As you start pushing, the baby’s head will appear, but once the contraction is over, it will withdraw from the view again.
The phenomenon of the baby’s head being visible without slipping back is known as crowning. Before crowning, your cervix will dilate 10 centimeters and efface 100 percent.
[ Read: Stages Of Childbirth ]
How It Feels When Your Baby Is Crowning?
When your baby starts crowning, you will feel a stinging or burning sensation, which is known as ‘the ring of fire’. It happens as the baby’s head stretches the vaginal tissue for a few minutes, before going back.
The moment you experience the burning sensation, you should stop pushing. It helps lower the risk of vaginal tear or a need for an episiotomy. Once the burning sensation passes, it means that the primary stage of labor is over.
The stinging sensation or the ring of fire lasts for a short period, making you feel numb. The numbness is from your baby’s stretching that blocks vaginal tissues. It is like a natural anesthetic effect and the time frame cannot be predicted.
Tips To Fight The Urge To Push
You should wait for your doctor or nurse to say when you can fight that urge to push.
- Lean back and try relaxing the perineal floor muscles located in between your rectum and the vagina.
- Relax your complete body and your nurse or midwife may help you by offering massage.
- Focus on deep breathing exercises that can help you relax. Your midwife will assist you with proper breathing pattern.
- Do not try to fight off the contractions. Allow them to work in your labor process.
[ Read: When & How To Push During Delivery ]
Preparing For Childbirth
You can prepare for a natural birth crowning before the actual process begins. When you experience the burning, your midwife may offer perineal massage to lower the risk of vaginal tearing and burning sensation. In some cases, you may have to go for episiotomy, a surgical incision of the perineum to facilitate the labor process.
The perineum is the skin between your rectum and the vagina. The area is massaged by inserting a lubricated finger to stretch the vagina for about 10 min every day. It is usually done from your 35th week of pregnancy.
Placing warm, soft cloth to the perineum and vaginal area also helps in preparing for the baby’s arrival.
How You Can Prevent Tears?
- Exercise regularly and have a balanced diet so that your tissues are healthy enough to withstand the pressure on them.
- Lubricate the area with a lot of oil, so that the baby can slip out easily without exerting too much pressure on your muscles.
- Push the baby by lying on your side as this will lessen the pressure on the perineum.
- Take long breaths and push when you are exhaling. Instead of pushing violently, do the job slowly but firmly.
After Birth Crowning
During baby or labor crowning, your midwife will check for any obstructions and if the umbilical cord is wrapped around your baby’s neck. In some cases, they may have to use some means, like forceps, to deliver your baby manually.
After baby crowning, the entire head emerges followed by the body. Your midwife will hold the baby’s head to avoid the entry of amniotic fluid or blood into its lungs. Also, the caregiver will suction your baby’s nose and mouth using a tiny bulb syringe to remove any excess fluids. The baby will be placed on your stomach, and the umbilical cord will be cut. All that left inside your uterus is placenta, the final stage of delivery.
Duration Of Crowning
If it is your first delivery, baby crowning may last for a couple of hours. If this is second or subsequent delivery, the will be shorter.
Hope you got a better understanding of baby crowning process. Always speak to your doctor before you enter into the delivery phase. Understanding what happens in the delivery room will help you to prepare mentally.
If you have already passed through this stage, share your experiences with mothers-to-be, by commenting here.
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