During early labor, the baby gets a big dose of oxytocin, the “love hormone.”
In pre-labor, the baby starts pressing against the mother’s birth canal, dilating the cervix. Then contractions begin. Meanwhile, the mother is releasing large amounts of oxytocin, a hormone that helps to calm the baby.
During active labor, the baby feels a little crowded but comfortable.
When active labor begins, mom’s contractions between squeezing the baby. However, the baby is comfortable. Obstetricians say that it is common for a baby to fall asleep during this part of labor.
During the transition, it’s unlikely that the baby feels any pain.
While the baby might be startled that the walls are closing in, the baby is unlikely to feel any pain from the strong and increasing contractions during transition. “It appears that the neural connections that would lead a baby to interpret sensations as ‘pain’ may not be developed at the time of labor,” obstetrician Dr. Anne Deans told The National.
At this point, the baby is ready to be born.
The plates on a newborn’s skull are not fixed. This allows for the skull to “mold” to the shape of the birth canal. It’s not the most pleasant moment, but the baby is physiologically ready to be born.
During delivery, the compression expels fluid and mucus from the baby’s lungs.
This squeezing-out of fluid and mucus from the baby’s lungs is a good thing. The baby is ready to breathe the air (and have a healthy cry). Still, the experience of being born must be at least a little bit tense. Studies have shown the babies born in calm, dimly-lit environments are less likely to scream and fuss immediately after delivery.