When the baby’s head appears at your vaginal opening and the head no longer slips back between contractions, this is a sign that your baby is coming – otherwise known as crowning.
Often a stinging or burning sensation is felt, as the baby stretches the outlet of your vagina. As soon as you feel it, try to relax as much as you can and allow the contractions of your uterus push the baby out on its own (if you do push, you run the risk of tearing or needing an episiotomy).
The stinging or burning sensation doesn’t last long. It is shortly followed by a numbing feeling, as the baby’s head stretches the vaginal tissues, where the nerves are blocked producing a natural anaesthetic (isn’t nature clever?).
When your baby’s head has been delivered, your baby will be face down, but almost immediately they will turn to face your thigh.
After delivery of the head, your contractions will stop for a minute or so. When they restart, the next contraction will usually deliver one shoulder and then the other shoulder will slip out. Once both shoulders are delivered, the rest of the body will come out quickly and easily.
Congratulations, you can now meet your baby!