Birth Crowning

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What is birth crowning?

During your labor, the head of your baby will protrude a bit with each contraction and then withdraw after the contraction. Crowning is when the baby’s head pushes out and remains there. As soon as crowning occurs, your delivery will take place soon.

What happens during your labor?

The preparation for labor and delivery happens weeks before your due date. This process is known as engagement during which your baby’s head moves into your pelvis. There are many stages in labor. Contractions come in the first stage which is also the shortest and most intense. After that is active labor which is characterized by full cervical dilation and closely timed contractions. This is when birth crowning happens.

How to prepare yourself for the big day

Perineal massage is greatly beneficial. You can start massage your perineum at week 35. Lubricate a finger and gently stretch your vaginal opening for about 10 minutes every day. This will help prepare your body, minimize the burning sensation and help you avoid an episiotomy.

What to keep in mind during birth crowning?

During birth crowning, you will feel a burning sensation (also known as the ring of fire) due to the stretching caused by your baby’s head. This is when you must stop pushing since pushing will only increase your risk of tearing and the need for an episiotomy. Your doctor or midwife will talk you through this stage. After the burning sense comes numbness as your baby’s head stretches your vaginal tissue to an extent that the local nerves are blocked, serving as a natural anesthetic. How long this process lasts depending on each individual. This is probably the most painful part of labor. To help ease the pain, try to focus on your breaths. Short and shallow breaths may help minimize tearing. A squatting position is also helpful.

You may ask to have a mirror so that you can see the head of your baby. Or, you can reach down and touch your baby’s head. Having your partner by your side is also encouraging. Pushing a baby out is not an easy task. You will need a lot of support. Have a cool washcloth on the back of your neck and sip water after each push so you will not be too exhausted.

What happens after birth crowning?

After birth crowning, your doctor may detect if there is any problem with your baby such as a nuchal cord (the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck). If your baby is stuck in the birth canal and cannot get out by themselves, your doctor will use forceps or other devices to help get them out. Follow the head of your baby is the rest of their body. Then, you will only need to deliver the placenta as the last stage of your labor and delivery.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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