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36 weeks Pregnant Must Know: The 3 Stages Of Labour

36 weeks Pregnant Must Know: The 3 Stages Of Labour

At 36 weeks pregnant you will be very excited about the arrival of your new baby. This is a very special time for you and your baby.

It’s surprising to hear that this little baby has now grown to the size of a honey-due melon and could possibly weigh up to six pounds. This little bundle of fun could survive outside the womb, if you went into labour at 36 weeks pregnant – but it’s best to give them every chance to thrive and grow to full term at 40 weeks.

By now you have most likely stocked up on all of the necessary baby equipment – ready for the baby’s arrival home from the hospital. But lets not forget that you have a major life event to prepare for and that is the labour.

If this is your first time to have a baby, you will have many questions about labour. Read on to get a closer look at the three stages of labour.

36 Weeks Pregnant Labour Guide

First Stage of Labour

There are three phases to the first stage of labour early labour, active labour and transition.

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1. Early Labour

It can take time for the first stage of labour to really take off. In this stage the cervix dilates to 3-4cm and it changes shape – from a long tube to a much shorter one. Braxton Hicks or pregnancy cramps can sometimes be mistaken for labour contractions but you will know if it’s the real thing if the pains continue.

The contractions shouldn’t be too painful at this point and it is fine for you to stay at home and watch a movie or preferably try to get some sleep.

Early labour can vary in length from one woman to the next. For a first baby it usually takes quite a bit longer. For some women it can be a full day before they feel the need to go to hospital while for others it can be just a few hours.

Women who have had previous labours are usually quite calm at this point if not a bit excited, however first time mums who do not have the same experience to refer to often feel nervous during the first stage of labour. Labour is difficult, there is no doubt but is is also beautiful so stay focused on the end result and pamper yourself with nice treats.

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2. Active Labour

Your cervix will dilate from 4cm all the way up to 8cm during this phase of labour. The contractions will be much stronger, longer and will come more steadily.

You will be safe enough calling the hospital to say you’re on the way when your contractions are five minutes apart for one hour. Towards the end of this phase the baby begins to descend and you can assure yourself that you will see it soon.

For some women it is possible that the contractions will come as often as every  2-3 mins at this stage. You won’t be able to have a conversation throughout these contractions. Instead you will be focusing on your breathing. You may also be using pain medication at this point if you feel that you need it.

This stage can take up to 8 hours but maybe much less for a woman who has given birth before. The good news is that time really flies when you are focusing on you labour management. I would know as a mother of four. You really don’t notice the time passing during active labour and the birth itself.

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3. Transition

At the end of the active phase you will go through what is referred to as the transition phase. This is when the cervix moves from 8-10cm. There is no doubt this is the most difficult part of labour. You may feel that you need to push but the cervix isn’t dilated enough so you will be told not to.

Don’t worry if you feel nauseous or like opening your bowels, this is all normal and will pass soon. Your baby is making it’s way closer to you with every contraction. Just keep focusing on their little face and it will get you through this tough stage.

Second Stage of Labour

Finally, you get to 10cm. Now you get to push. Follow the directions of the doctor or midwife and only push as much as they say. If they say to push gently then just do as they ask and push gently. This will really help to avoid tearing and stitches later.

Sometimes referred to as the “pushing stage” this part of labour is calmer as a rule. The contractions don’t come as often and in some hospitals women are given a break at this point – to rest a little before they start to push.

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Sometimes the baby is still quite high up in the pelvis and the pressure to push is not so great. However the baby will move down a little more with each contraction and eventually the head will start to crown. You will see with a mirror the baby’s scalp peeping out of your vagina. It can be hard to believe they are so close.

The baby’s descent may be rapid or it may be slower with a first baby. Either way, find a comfortable position where you can push properly – bearing down as if you were doing a number 2!

This stage can take longer for women who have had an epidural as they don’t feel the same pressure to push. Sometimes babies are delivered in this stage in less than a half an hour while for others it can take more than an hour.

Trust in the experts and follow their directions and your baby will eventually make it’s way out, hopefully head first, then shoulders and finally their body.

Third Stage of Labour

At this point your baby will be well wrapped up and in your arms. You won’t care very much about the third stage of labour but the midwife or doctor will work gently asking you to push out the placenta. This won’t take long – just a few minutes. It’s not really painful and it won’t bother you at all.

You will probably be feeling elated at having your new baby in your arms – checking their fingers and toes – trying to figure out who they look like.

Your work is finally done. That is your labour is done but the real work is only getting started! You’ll have to check back in with me for more tips on what to do next.

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Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

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Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

Reference

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