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Childbirth Specialist

Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates

Board Certified OB/GYN located in Decatur, GA

Few things are more exciting than welcoming a baby into your family. Shirley Rigaud-Echols, MD, and the all-female team of providers at Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates in Decatur, Georgia, understand the joys and anxieties surrounding childbirth and offer comprehensive care and support during this important time in a woman’s life. Learn more during a one-on-one visit with Dr. Rigaud-Echols, which you can schedule by booking online or calling the office.

Childbirth Q & A

What will happen during childbirth?

This is a question that all pregnant women have, but one that does not have a simple answer. In truth, there is no way to know for sure how your childbirth experience will play out. Numerous things can affect the process, and having a trusted OB/GYN by your side is the best way to navigate those unknowns. 

The providers at Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates have extensive training and experience in all aspects of childbirth. They work with the expectant mothers in their care to plan for this important experience, but are prepared to provide care if and when the experience varies from those plans. 

What are the stages of labor and childbirth?

The process of having a baby is divided into three stages. During Stage 1, you will begin to experience mild contractions, which feel a bit like cramping. You might notice a release of pink, clear, or bloody discharge as your mucus plug separates from your cervix. 

Some women move through the early stage of labor quickly. For others, the process can last longer than a day. Your cervix will begin to dilate, and once it reaches 6-10 centimeters in diameter, active labor begins. 

Stage 2 labor is the portion of the process when your baby is born. You’ll be asked to push to help the process along. This stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. For most women, their first experience with childbirth takes longer than subsequent births. 

Once your baby is born and receives their first health checks, you’ll enter Stage 3. This is when you’ll deliver the placenta, the organ that has housed your baby as they grew and developed. Mild contractions will happen as the placenta detaches from your uterus, and you’ll need to push again to help it exit your body. At this point, your provider will check to see if you need sutures to repair vaginal tissues. 

How can I prepare for childbirth?

Your provider works with you in the early stages of pregnancy to help you prepare for childbirth. For some women, a Cesarean section, or C-section, is the safest way to deliver the baby. A C-section can be planned well in advance, or a planned vaginal birth can transition into a C-section at the last minute. 

There are many ways to prepare for childbirth. Your provider will help you decide on a plan that works for you, and may suggest things you haven’t considered. 

Some of the ways you can prepare to welcome the newest member of your family include:

  • Taking a childbirth course
  • Tour the obstetrics department at Emory Decatur or Northside Hospital
  • Practice relaxation techniques to use during childbirth
  • Talk about your concerns, but focus on the positives

Many expectant mothers find comfort in planning the details of how they would like their birth experience to play out. It’s important, however, to understand that a multitude of things can alter those plans. 

If you’re pregnant and searching for the right OB/GYN to guide you through your pregnancy and childbirth journey, schedule a time to come in and meet with the Dekalb OB/GYN Affiliates team. Online scheduling is available, and you are always welcome to call the office to check appointment availability.