What is crowning in birth? How does a pregnant woman's ring of fire feel? During the weeks leading up to childbirth, your body will experience many changes. One of the signs of your body's preparation for delivery is your baby entering the pelvic area, which is called engagement.
It is one of the first stages of child delivery. When your due date comes closer, your cervix dilates and opens up to help your baby move toward the birth canal. When the top of his head is seen in this canal, it is called the baby's crowning.
Some compare this childbearing stage to a crowning princess; the idea is that just like a princess putting her tiara on her head, your baby's head shows up and is ready to get crowned. Another commonly used term is "the ring of fire." You may ask: what is the ring of fire birth?
When your baby starts to move downwards and enters the birth canal with contraction of your uterus, you may feel pain and a burning sensation. As if when the baby passes through the canal, you feel the ring of fire. Let's see what all this means and what to expect when baby crowning happens.
What is Baby Crowning & How it Feels
The contractions in a pregnant women's uterus help push the baby out of the mother's womb, pass it through the cervix and make it enter the birth canal. These contractions and the process of child labor, which contains three or four stages, may last from several hours (12 to 20) to even several days. Let us check the stages of childbirth:
- The initial or active stage
- Entry of the fetus into the birth canal
- Placenta delivery
Baby crowning or birth crown occurs during the second stage of labor, and before that, the cervix dilates up to 6 cm. It takes a few hours (4-8) to a few days for the cervix to open up enough for the baby's head to come out of the uterus. Until then, your cervix dilates 1 cm almost every hour.
After baby crowning is passed, you will be minutes to hours from being able to hug your baby. It is just a matter of a few pushes left.
When the upper part of the baby's head can be seen in the birth canal and it does not slip back, the crowning birth is complete. Perhaps you will be able to see it by holding a mirror, or you may even be able to reach out and touch it with your hand.
This experience is exciting and lovely for some women, and some may find it overwhelming! After the crowning, you can expect your child's birth within a few minutes to a few hours.
Pain During Baby Crowning: How to Manage It
As the day of delivery approaches, one of the concerns of many pregnant women is pain management during the pushing crowning childbirth.
You may have heard many stories about the pain of this stage of labor and delivery. But remember that childbirth is an entirely individual experience, and no two people are alike.
Some women have reported that they felt pain and a stingy or burning sensation. Some have had less pain, mainly if epidural or local anesthesia was used, and some did not feel pain at all.
The key to passing the pregnancy ring of fire is to resist feeling the urge to push harder and shorten the labor process. The doctor or midwife next to you will monitor you all the time to measure your progress in childbirth. So push whenever he/she says so.
In the meantime, your partner or anyone who has accompanied you to the hospital/birth center can help relieve your fatigue and stress. They can do it simply by placing a cool washcloth on your forehead or putting a warm water bag on your back, holding your hands, and giving morale to you.
To manage pain in the ring of fire birth, you can try different positions suggested by your midwife or practitioner. Although it seems that lying on your back is the most common type of birthing position, other positions may work better for you. Also, local or epidural anesthesia is recommended in some cases.
Tips to Avoid Tearing
Considering that your vaginal tissue will stretch and make room for your baby's head to move further down the canal, it is wise to listen to your practitioner's guide. The doctor advises changing your position or easing up on pushing when necessary.
To avoid common tears in the vagina or perineum:
- Do not push hard or constantly.
- Start pushing only when your doctor or midwife asks you to.
- Pay attention to your breathing techniques.
- Instead of deep breathing, breathe slowly, and take shallow breaths to relieve pain.
Another solution is to reduce the risk of tearing and minimize the stinging sensation by applying a perineal massage a few weeks before your due date. To perform the mentioned massage, insert your lubricated finger into the vaginal opening for 10 minutes a day from week 35 of pregnancy onwards. This should help the opening to stretch more easily.
All these measures are supposed to help you so that you probably won't need an episiotomy. Episiotomy is a surgical cut performed in the perineum area to facilitate childbirth.
But sometimes, tearing may occur when the baby's head is big. Or, maybe despite all your efforts to train the muscles to stretch as much as possible, they fail to do so on your delivery date. You may have tried your best, but nothing is guaranteed.
According to some estimates, 70% of pregnant women will experience tearing during vaginal delivery. These tears rang from tears in the skin and tissue of the perineum to more severe ones. Third and fourth-degree tears include damage to the perineum, anal sphincter, and mucous membrane. The treatment required in these cases may also range from simple stitches to surgery.
What Happens After The Baby Crowning?
If baby crowning is done as it should and you go through the ring of fire pregnant smoothly, there is no need to worry, and you are approaching the final stages of childbirth. After the baby is crowned, your doctor or midwife can determine whether the umbilical cord is twisted around
her neck. Or he or she can check it up to see if there is any other complication.
Suppose your practitioner concludes that there is a problem and your baby has been stuck in the birth canal. In that case, she will decide to intervene and help move the baby outside.
Sometimes, practitioners use tools like forceps (similar to big spoons) or vacuum extraction to get the baby out. You can expect the rest of the baby's head and body to come out quickly. Now it is enough for you to push a bit to make the placenta come out of your body, and good job! It is all done!
This article presented techniques to deal with pain during ring of fire pregnancy and methods to prevent tearing. Baby crowning is one of the steps involved in vaginal birth. Crowning happens when the baby's head moves from inside the uterus towards the cervix and is placed in the birth canal. Therefore, the upper part of the baby's head is visible. This stage may last a few minutes and cause pain or a burning sensation.
Although there is a lot of urge to push your baby out of your body must listen to your doctor's or midwife's advice at this stage of childbirth. Forceful and rapid pushing will damage the perennial area and cause vaginal tears. Hopefully, when baby crowning is over, you are just some minute or an hour away from hugging your precious little one.