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Can someone please explain what transition is please

(25 Posts)
MrsRhettButler Mon 04-Jul-11 13:12:30

i had an epidural with dd so I dont really understand what transition is or how it feels.

What stage is it? Is it when you are fully dilated?

But most importantly, what makes it so bad?

culturemulcher Mon 04-Jul-11 14:00:19

I'm not an expert, but I've had two VBs. As I understand it (and experienced it!) transition is the bit where your body changes from contractions to actually pushing the baby out. So, yes, when you are fully dilated.

What makes it bad is that you suddenly feel some or all of the following
1) nauseous
2) panicky - you've kind of got used to regular contractions increasing in strength and frequency, and then everything goes a bit all over the place
3) emotionally you start to feel as though you can't cope, that it's all too much, that you've had enough and can't take any more
4) Cold / shaky

Transition doesn't hurt, as such, it's just an emotional upheaval coupled with feeling sick. My NCT teacher said that midwifes know when women are in transition because that's when they start crying / getting annoyed and fractious or swearing.

The good thing about transition is that you know when you get to the bit where you feel as though you can't cope, it's all over bar the pushing!

VeryHungryKatypillar Mon 04-Jul-11 14:15:19

I have no idea! Well, I know the theory but can't really pin point a time in my labour when I was in transition. I did feel like I couldn't cope at about 8-9 cm dilated when things started feeling more 'pushy' which might have been it... and then there was a bit when things were definitely 'pushy' when I was scared and told the midwife so (the pain was so unlike anything I've ever felt and I was petrified of it) and that might have been it instead I suppose...
Or there was the bit when I was moaning 'help me' but I was pushing by then...
At no point did I feel sick though, and I was on gas and air too...

That doesn't help you OP does it? But hopefully it illustrates that it's not an exact science type thing??

Hormoneoverload Mon 04-Jul-11 16:21:59

Had definite transition with dc 2. I was having home birth then contractions suddenly felt too strong to deal with with gas and air and strong breathing. So I asked to be transferred to have an epidural and asked dh to inflate and fill pool! Midwife said "of course, we'll let them know but you might have to wait a bit." I realised I'd have to change midwife if I transferred, few contractions later was fully dilated, 15 mins later ds born. Classic transition panic. Don't remember so clearly with the other two-more moments of panic with no 1 and no time to panic with no3 grin good luck.

MrsRhettButler Mon 04-Jul-11 21:52:48

So different for everyone then I guess confused

I'm just hoping the birth isn't too long, I can't cope with pain for prolonged periods..

Is it also true that contractions don't actually get worse but just get closer together, almost on top of one another and that's what makes it so difficult? Or was my friend lying to me? grin

sittinginthesun Mon 04-Jul-11 21:58:01

It all depends on the individual labour. With DS2 I definitely had the transition stage - I went into a major rant about needing an epidural, which they did give me, only to find I wad actually fully dilated and ready to push! I was all ready to walk right out!

With my first, the contractions were painful straight away, and did just try closet together. Second time, they started gently, and got stronger.

MrsRhettButler Mon 04-Jul-11 22:05:31

I was induced with dd, I had a drip to get me started so my contractions didn't hurt to begn with but I think my friend meant that once you get going with full on painful contractions that they don't get much worse after that....

I dunno, I really want to be able to handle it without an epidural this time but I'm not sure il be able to <wimp>

mo3d Mon 04-Jul-11 22:06:24

Everyones labour is different. My friend described hers at bad period pain. I nearly hit her! V lucky woman.

Contractions do gradually get stronger as your body is building up to you pushing out your baby.

I had a few contractions one after the other with my labours. It's hard, but you'll cope.

I heard that in transition some women do strange things like announce that they can't do this any more and they're going home! Transition isn't more pain. I don't think most know they're even in it.

Good luck with your labour. I'm sure you'll do beautifully!

LCarbury Mon 04-Jul-11 22:11:57

I didn't really notice it in my first labour, I think it was the 5 minutes where I threw up before I went into full-on pushing. It felt fine though, just part of the process.

In my second labour it was very noticeable, it felt like the world went dark, and the only thing I was aware of was that the baby was coming really strongly but I felt that I was not quite dilated enough to accommodate, which did feel quite scary and I ended up shouting "Not yet! Just a minute! Help" and then my body calmed down enough for me to breathe again for about 2 minutes, and then the baby came out pretty much straight away smile

Hormoneoverload Mon 04-Jul-11 22:17:20

The point about my transition experience is that the contractions felt too strong to cope with. I don't suppose they were much worse. Transition seemed to be about a shift in my feelings towards labour and how I could cope rather than the physical aspects.
Labour is different not just for every woman, but every birth (speaking as someone who's done it three times).

MrsRhettButler Mon 04-Jul-11 22:17:49

Just realised there's two 'pleases' in my title blush
I so badly want to do it all naturally and 'feel' it iykwim.

Wigeon Tue 05-Jul-11 14:40:03

I can't pinpoint when transition was with either of my two labours. IME the contractions just got more and more painful (and closer together and longer) and then it was time to push and then there was a baby. (A greatly abbreviated version of my labours! grin). And actually at no point in either labour did I think "I can't cope" although it was very very painful. But possible to deal with (just!).

I found [[ this book called Birth Skills] very helpful in suggesting pain management techniques for a drug-free labour, although it is very very non-judgemental about choosing to have an epidural or needing to have a c-section.

Wigeon Tue 05-Jul-11 14:40:27

sorry - Birth Skills book

Snowsquonk Tue 05-Jul-11 15:20:28

Transition occurs towards the end of the first stage of labour - some women have no noticable transition and go from contractions which are opening the cervix to those which are explusive in nature - sometimes across a contraction!

Other women have a more noticeable transition - sometimes the long, strong and very frequent contractions stop - "rest and be thankful" stage - woman is at or near full dilation but her body takes a pit stop. Other women are much more affected by the rising levels of adrenaline, which make her "wake up" and emerge from the more inward looking, dream/trance-like state caused by high levels of oxytocin and endorphins. This can make her ratty, aggressive, sick, shaky, scared, overwhelmed etc - it's the point at which the woman who has been coping really well with labour suddenly wants strong pain relief even though she's been adament she doesn't want pethidine/epidural. She needs support, comfort, reassurance and reminders that her baby will be in her arms soon.

Physically, the uterus can be getting two messages - start pushing and keep opening - so things can hurt more.

fun! don't worry about it - it doesn't last that long

TheSecondComing Tue 05-Jul-11 15:28:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsRhettButler Tue 05-Jul-11 15:53:54

Thanks for the link wigeon I think il buy that actually.

thesecondcoming you can't be that much of a wuss!

Starchart Tue 05-Jul-11 16:09:35

If you're labouring well you will have relaxed into you contractions and you body will be full of endorphines and low on adrenaline.

When your body is ready to push you get a rush of adrenaline in order to give you the energy for that part. As is is a sudden surge of the fight or flight hormone but at a time when you are unable to do either, so some women panick and go a bit nuts. But some don't. If you have spent the whole of your labour freaked out and fighting you probably won't notice the difference.

TheSecondComing Tue 05-Jul-11 16:17:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Starchart Wed 06-Jul-11 09:24:01

You know what though. Some Of us actually like the pushing bit.

Imagine the biggest Itch you could ever imagine in your fanjo. Then imagine giving it a mean ole scratch with a metal claw. Fecking hurts but you NEED to do it.

Hormoneoverload Wed 06-Jul-11 13:04:56

So right star chart! As dd's chin born, it was just as you describe. With the added bonus of knowing last time I'll have that itch to scratch! Funny how you know...both the previous times was desperate to do it again (not that day, you understand!)

Glitterybits Wed 06-Jul-11 21:25:37

I could absolutely pinpoint transition with my first. I even remember saying, 'I think this is transition because I can't do it anymore'. I also remember feeling like crying, wanting my Mum, wanting to go home and suddenly a bit panicky that I didn't have control over the pain/ contractions anymore. It was completely textbook in hindsight.

For me, it was basically very intense contractions, one on top of the other, without the break in between that I'd got used to. I felt a bit like my body was against me. I was also quite sick just before I was fully dilated, although I remember thinking it was the gas and air that caused that part. Well that, and the fact that my DH was eating a disgusting smelling pasty! grin The good news is that very, very quickly after that I had got to the pushing stage, which was much easier to cope with. Funnily enough, every friend I've ever spoken to cannot recall feeling any different during transition. So, try not to worry about it because it's very quick and you might not even notice it! It is a helpful tool in the sense that it lets you know it's almost over though - and I agree with TheSecondComing that the pushing stage is indeed like blessed relief afterwards.

BettyBum Sat 09-Jul-11 10:59:12

I gave birth a week ago and completely agree with all of these posts. Transition for me started when midwife asked me to lie on my left side on the sofa to get my contractions started again, and boy did it work! I started shaking and saying I needed an epidural and transfer. The midwives kept saying 'do you remember we said you would say this?!' grin

My waters broke with my pushing, I remember feeling a bit wild. But definitely agree that pushing feels satisfying.

Junebugjr Sat 09-Jul-11 19:54:01

I felt very sick and very lightheaded and just 'knew' I'd reached 10cm, and felt panicky about it.

I needn't have worried, pushing was by far the easiest part of the labour, I found early contractions more painful. The 'ring of fire' weren't that bad either, just in a strange way very satisfying. Saying that, I was throughly pissed off with being pregnant and was ecstatic all the way through labour as it was coming to an end grin

CBear6 Mon 11-Jul-11 18:39:27

I had a definite shift in my feelings and was adamant I was going home. I demanded my coat, demanded they let me off the bed "right fucking now!" (DS had a clip on his head so they wouldn't let me be mobile), that I couldn't do this labour thing and I wasn't good at it. I also have memories of things that happened during transition which both DS and the MW have assured me aren't real like me screeching my head off and physically fighting them to get away, DS say there was no screeching and I was just "babbling shite in a panicky voice" and that I was on the bed the whole time and no one touched me.

A few minutes later I was ready to push and it really is such a relief. I was actually going to sleep between contractions - wake up, push, ask for my gas and air pipe back ("no, dear"), and then go back to sleep.

Transition really was the worst part for me but it was over quickly, it's a sign that you're on the home stretch, and if nothing else it entertains everyone else in the room smile

Every delivery is different too so not everyone experiences it, I'm pregnant again and it's not even worrying me and I'm a total wimp, I might have a bit of a wobble when the time comes but I know this time that I can do it.

CBear6 Mon 11-Jul-11 18:40:38

I meant DH, not DS. I'd have been very freaked out if DS had been talking to me about his birth.

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