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Vaginal Delivery


What do I need to know about vaginal delivery?

A vaginal delivery occurs when your baby is born through your vagina (birth canal).

How do I prepare for vaginal delivery?

You will not be able to eat while you are in active labor. Your healthcare provider can give you medicines for pain relief if you chose to have them. You may need medicine to induce (start) your labor if your labor is not moving forward. You may need to move in bed, stand, or walk to help your baby move into position for birth.

What will happen during vaginal delivery?

  • You can move into several positions during delivery. You can lie on your back, have your feet up in stirrups, or squat. You may feel pressure on your rectum. This pressure is caused by the movement of your baby's head down the birth canal. You may feel the urge to push. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to push, and guide your baby out of the birth canal. Healthcare providers may use forceps or suction to help deliver your baby. You may also need an episiotomy (incision) to make the vaginal opening larger. This will make more room for your baby.
  • After your baby is born, your healthcare provider will put clamps on the cord that connects your baby to the placenta. The cord is then cut. Your uterus continues to contract after delivery to push out the placenta. Your healthcare provider may close your episiotomy incision or any tears with stitches.

What will happen after vaginal delivery?

  • Healthcare providers will examine your baby. You may be able to hold your baby soon after he or she is born. After healthcare providers have checked that you and your baby are okay, you may be taken to another room.
  • A healthcare provider may massage your abdomen several times to make your uterus firm. This can be uncomfortable. You may have abdominal pains for up to 3 days after you give birth because your uterus is still contracting. The contractions help release blood from inside your uterus so it shrinks back to its normal size. These contractions may hurt more while you breastfeed your baby.
  • Your healthcare provider may suggest you get out of bed to sit in a chair or walk. Activity can help prevent blood clots.
  • You may be able to go home within 24 to 48 hours after delivery. If you need support at home, ask your healthcare provider about home visits by another healthcare provider. This healthcare provider can help you learn about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, baby care, and perineum care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Vaginal Delivery

Micromedex® Care Notes