When pregnant in Kenya, a pregnant woman does not look forward to going into labor, due to all the horror stories you hear from other women.
The amazing thing is it is not as horrifying as all those tales you hear. Even more amazing is that immediately after child birth all that pain is completely wiped out from your memory. This is what makes the natural birth method more preferred than going through a cesarean section procedure.
Going into labor can only be justified as a necessary evil, since you have to go through it to birth your bundle of joy. And is a very personal experience, each pregnant woman in Kenya, am sure has a very different story to tell about their experience. After an average of 37 weeks of pregnancy, you will start preparing for childbirth.
The duration which labor lasts differs from pregnancy to pregnancy and from one woman to another. Some women have a fairly easy time where their labor lasts for less than one hour. At least I remember when I went into labor of my first pregnancy lasted for about 45 minutes.
In other women, labor last from 12 hours to 20 hours for their first pregnancy while the ones who have had children before go through an average of 8 hours of labor.
Let us look at the different stages you will go through while in labor
Pregnant in Kenya: First stage of labor
Early labor is this first stage of labor. You will start to experience contractions. These contractions are fairly weak as your cervix begins to dilate and thin. Contractions at this stage feel like mild cramps like the ones you experience during monthly periods.
These contractions increase as you labor progresses. It is not easy to have a written guideline for all pregnant women, as I mentioned above every pregnancy is different. However, most women experience contractions which start between every 10 – 15 minutes and last between 20 – 30 seconds at a given time.
Early contractions are fairly painless. At this stage you can walk around and do the normal things like taking a birth. Detest from carrying out duties that involve using too much energy at this time. Rest and save your energy as you are going to need it and your strength to go through childbirth.
You may begin to notice an increase in vaginal discharge, some of which may even be stained. All this is normal, but should the bloody discharge continue, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.
It is not easy to say how long early labor will last. For some Kenyan pregnant women it can last for less than 2 hours while others are longer. Usually the length of your labor is determined by how ripe your cervix was from the onset of labor and how frequent and strong of your early contractions. As your labor progress, your cervix will continue to dilate and we would say early labor has ended when your cervix dilation has reached 3-4 cm.
Look out for my next article on the next stage of active labor.