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How to Dilate Faster During Labor: 11 Quick Methods
When it comes to labor, the process of dilation is one of the most important steps and can be the difference between a successful and safe delivery, or a prolonged and difficult one. Many women want to know how to dilate faster during labor, and while there is no 100% guaranteed way to promote the process, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to speed things along.
A first-time mom will typically experience longer hours getting from the start to the final stage of labor. It can take 12- 18 hours or more in some cases and is slightly shorter for veteran moms.
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Why Dilation is Important During Labor
It is important to understand the process of dilation and why it is so important to labor and delivery. During labor, the cervix must dilate to 10 centimeters for the baby to pass through the birth canal. This dilation can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days and happens in three stages
Stages of Labor
There are three main stages of labor your body must go through.
The first stage is further divided into three stages
During this stage, your body begins the process of dilation and your cervix will go from fully closed to 3cm. This stage lasts from 6 – 12 hours. However, since the contractions here are mild and not painful, most women spend this time at home.
This process happens as your baby descends further down into your pelvis. Contractions here last 60 o 90 seconds and come 5 to 15 minutes apart. It is the pressure from the baby’s head pressing against your cervix that encourages it to open up.
You may also notice your mucus plug coming off at this point. The mucus plug is a thin layer of mucus that sealed the mouth of the cervix during the entire duration of your pregnancy and kept unwanted infections out.
This mucus plug might come out tinged with blood in what is called the bloody show and happens as a result of some capillaries bursting in your cervix.
The second phase of stage one is the active labor where your cervix dilates from 3cm to 7cm.
Contractions now become slightly stronger and more uncomfortable, slightly painful even. They come closer together and are quite regular. They may be 3 minutes apart and last for around 45 seconds.
You might notice your water breaking at this point and also experience some backache.
This phase lasts for 4 to 8 hours and you want to head to the hospital as it progresses.
This is the toughest stage of all and is when your cervix dilates fully to 10cm. Contractions will become much stronger and more painful. However, the end of it usually signifies baby is ready to be born.
Once your cervix becomes fully dilated and effaced (thinned out), your health practitioner will prepare for the next stage which is the actual delivery of your baby.
This stage could last from 20 minutes to a few hours. You will experience much stronger contractions and a strong urge to push.
Your birthing practitioner will guide you on what to do and you should push on their instructions until your baby is out.
Your baby is out, however, the placenta which supplied nutrients and oxygen that helped nourish your baby during your pregnancy needs to also come out. It does so during stage three and could take up to 30 minutes to do so.
It takes this long as it has to separate from the wall of your uterus where it has been attached all along. Once it comes out, your doctor goes ahead to cut the umbilical cord and clean up your baby.
It is important to remain patient and not rush the process, as it can be dangerous if attempted too quickly.
Secondly, it is important to relax during labor. Taking deep breaths, having a massage, or even taking a bath can help the muscles relax and encourage dilation.
Related: 19 Things to Do Before Baby Arrives
When to Seek Assistance
Most labor and dilation will progress naturally, usually from 37 weeks when your baby is termed to 40 weeks and you should let nature take its cause.
However, there might be instances when you need to help things along. It is at such times you should seek ways to either induce labor or dilate faster if it isn’t progressing as it should.
Here are some of them:
- You are a few days to almost two weeks past your due date.
- There’s a possible infection in your uterus.
- Your water is broken with no accompanying signs of labor. His poses some risk of infection to you or your baby.
- Your baby is deemed to be experiencing some growth delay.
- There’s a reduction in the amniotic fluid.
- You’ve been diagnosed with placenta abruption.
- You’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.
How to Dilate Faster During Labor
Whether you have begun the process of dilation, even if it isn’t going as it should, or you want to get it started, here are eleven methods that work:
1) Move Around
Moving around is one of the fastest ways to help you dilate faster during labor. This is because it increases blood flow.
It also makes your baby descend further down into your pelvis and your baby’s weight pressing against your cervix is what promotes dilation.
2) Use an Exercise Ball
Inflatable birthing balls are another effective option to consider. You sit on this ball and rock back and forth or move in circles for 30 minutes at a time.
This also increases blood flow and helps open your pelvis. Your baby’s further descent causes you to dilate faster.
3) Swaying and Dancing
Like moving about, swaying and dancing are two exercises that also improve blood flow.
You could choose to stand and sway back and forth or rock your hips from side to side to get the pelvis to Popen up faster.
4) Drink Plenty of Water
You also want to drink a lot of water. Dehydration makes our body less efficient which slows down dilation.
If it helps, have your birthing partner remind you to take sips of water regularly to keep things on track.
Also, as you take water, you want to make it a habit to empty your bladder every hour as a full bladder takes up space and could also interfere with dilation.
5) Get Relaxed
Being stressed causes your muscles to tense up, which can delay labor. So seek out relaxation through various means like listening to soothing music, having someone give you a massage, or getting plenty of rest.
6) Take a Warm Bath or Shower
A warm bath or shower is a natural pain relief and will bring you soothing relief. It also helps relax your perineum, which allows for quicker dilation.
Some people also find that keeping their feet warm produces a similar effect and while not proven, wearing a pair of socks is one way to achieve this.
7) Practice Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that also promotes quicker dilation.
In adopting this method, you want to focus on one breast at a time, tweaking it between your thumb and forefinger for five minutes before moving to the next.
8) Have Sex
Having sex doesn’t induce labor, however, it can speed things up if labor is already underway.
Sex relaxes the body and the semen released also contains prostaglandins which encourage dilation.
9) Stay in a Dimly Lit or Dark Room
Staying in a dark or dimly lit room also doesn’t induce labor but also helps speed the process if it has already begun.
Staying in a dark room normally promotes sleep however during labor it relaxes you more deeply causing it to produce more oxytocin.
10) Practice Hypnobirthing Breathing
You also want to look into hypno-breathing techniques. Practicing these breathing exercises encourages relaxation, which then encourages the release of oxytocin and dilation.
11) Listen to Hypnobirthing Audio
You could just as well listen to a hypnobirthing audio which will also promote relaxation.
By following these tips and tricks, it is possible to speed up the process of dilation during labor, and help to ensure a successful and safe delivery. It is important to remember that the process of dilation is natural and takes time and that it is important to remain patient and focus on the end goal of meeting your baby.
How to Induce Labor Naturally
You can only promote faster dilation when labor has already commenced. If you are yet to go into labor, past your due date or your doctor has determined that labor is not progressing naturally, here are ways to induce labor.
The first step in inducing labor is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to determine whether or not labor induction is the best course of action for you and your baby. They will also be able to provide you with information about the risks and benefits associated with the procedure. Once your doctor has given you the go-ahead, here are a few methods you can adopt:
1) Stripping the membranes
This entails manually separating the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus. Your doctor or midwife puts their hands just inside your cervix, at the mouth of the womb, and performs a circular motion. This procedure is uncomfortable and lasts a few minutes. If successful, it should stimulate the release of hormones that can cause contractions within a few hours.
2) Artificial rupture of membranes
Artificial rupturing of the membrane, also called amniotomy or breaking of the water, will see your healthcare giver breaking the amniotic sac to release the amniotic fluid. This can also stimulate the release of hormones that can cause contractions.
This procedure is successful in over 81% of the times it is performed.
This is a hormone-like substance that can be used to ripen the cervix and is introduced into the body, making can make it easier for labor to begin.
Oxytocin is a hormone that can be given intravenously to induce labor. It stimulates uterine contractions and typically goes into effect 30 minutes after it is administered.
It is given intravenously through an IV line administered to the arm.
This involves inserting needles into specific points on the body to stimulate labor. It is important to remember that labor induction is a medical procedure and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor. In addition, there are risks associated with labor, and induction and it is important to discuss these with your doctor before proceeding.
In some cases, labor induction may be successful in starting the labor process. However, it is important to remember that labor induction is not always effective and may not result in a successful delivery. Additionally, labor induction can lead to a longer labor and an increased risk of medical interventions, such as a cesarean delivery.
If you and your doctor decide that labor induction is the best course of action for you and your baby, it is important to remember that it is just one part of the labor and delivery process. While labor induction can help to get things started, it is important to remember that the labor process is still unpredictable and can take time. It is important to remain as relaxed and comfortable as possible during the process and to trust in your body’s natural ability to give birth.
Labor induction is a medical procedure that can be used to start the labor process in certain cases. It is important to remember that it is a medical procedure and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Additionally, there are risks associated with labor induction and it is important to discuss these with your doctor before proceeding. If labor induction is successful, it can help to make the labor process easier and quicker. However, it is important to remember that labor induction is not always effective and that the labor process is still unpredictable.
6 Signs You Are Dilating
Once your cervix starts to dilate and efface, here are six signs you can expect to see:
- Bloody show
- Discharge of the mucus plug
- Lightning crotch
- Your intuition or guys will let you know
Dilation and effacement can occur within a few hours or take 1 or 2 days to be completed. Some women even find they dilate a few centimeters weeks before the actual labor starts.
Reasons for Cervix Not Dilating
Some common reasons why a cervix will refuse to dilate or start and then stop halfway include:
- Having a baby that’s too large.
- Having a narrow pelvis.
- A birth canal that’s too small.
- Baby is not already in a head-on position.
- Weak Contractions.
- Mental stress and anxiety.
Tags: Signs you’re dilating during pregnancy, how to dilate faster during labor, how to induce labor naturally, dilate faster during labor naturally