Friday, January 11, 2008

The stage of labour

The stage of labour

After the passing of 9 lunar months (38 weeks), the foetus completes growth in the uterus. It is time now to go out after the end of this specified period. Allah says;

“And We cause whom We will to rest in the wombs for an appointed term ”

(Qur’an 22:5).

So the term is appointed and determined;

The which (foetus) We placed in a place of rest, firmly fixed, for a period (of gestation), determined. For We do determine, for We are the best to determine (things).

(Qur’an 77: 21-23)

Before elaborating the stages of labour, it is noteworthy to mention the Quranic reference to the benefits of dates for the woman in labour, in which the status of the Lady Mary (mother of prophet Issa) is described in the following verses as ;

“And the birth pains surprised her by the trunk of the palm tree: she said; ‘Ah! Would I had died before this! And become a thing forgotten.’ But (a voice) cried to her from beneath: ‘Grieve not! Your Lord has set below you a rivulet. Shake to you the palm-trunk , and there shall come falling upon you dates fresh and ripe. So eat , and drink, and be comforted …”

(Qur’an 19: 23-26).

It has been scientifically proved that dates have several benefits. Of these benefits, for the woman in labour:

Dates are rich in fibers which help avoid constipation, as it is a natural laxative, and helps a smooth delivery. Dates contain more than 70% glucose, which is easily absorbed and assimilated, thus ensuring the provision of necessary energy during labour. Dates is also rich in minerals, particularly magnesium which is necessary for cells physiology, and potassium which is necessary for the muscles, and iron which is necessary to treat anemia. Dates contain a substance that helps alert the muscles of uterus to contract and increase contraction during delivery (this substance resembles Oxytocin hormone excreted by pituitary glands). This is in addition to many other benefits (no room to mention here) . Praise be to Allah, the High and the Able.

Labour, which ends with delivery, is comprised of 4 stages:

1- Stage of dilatation of cervix and contraction of uterus muscle. This stage takes about 7-12 hours (Figure 1) and occurs as a result of several factors: mechanic and hormonal. A set of hormones is excreted to help facilitate the stage of labour. Of these hormones are: Prostaglandin, Corticotropin Releasing Hormone, Adreno Cortico Tropin, Corticol, Oxytocin, Estrogin.

Figure 1: Stages of labour

2- Stage of delivering the foetus. This stage takes about 30-50 minutes, and starts after enough dilatation of cervix. As a result of consequent uterus contractions, foetus head starts to emerge first. It is striking that the diameter of foetus head may exceed 12 cm., i.e., normally triple the diameter of vaginal canal. Having considered this fact, and the role of self hormonal factors, in addition to the expansion of pelvis ligatures and muscles, that all facilitate the delivery of the foetus, we realize the wisdom underlying Allah’s saying;

“Then He makes his path smooth for him.”

(Qur’an 80: 20).

So blessed be Allah, the Most Wise of all disposers.

3- Stage of placenta emergence and the formation of blood clot behind the placenta (Figure 1). This stage lasts about 15 minutes.

4- Stage of uterus contraction. This is to alleviate the bleeding after delivery process, and continues for about two hours.

After delivery, and cutting the umbilical cord (Figure 2), which the foetus has depended upon for acquiring food from his mother during pregnancy, the baby then starts another stage in a new station in his life.

Figure 2: New born baby after cutting the umbilical cord

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