Emotions during the crowning phase
As the pushing continues, the baby starts to extend their head out, and move underneath the woman's pubic bone. This stretches the perineum close to its capacity. By the time about 5 centimetres in diameter of the baby's head can be seen, the previous pattern of 'two steps forward, one step back' changes. Now the baby's head continues to advance slightly more with each contraction, but usually stays where it is after the contraction has stopped. This continues for a few contractions (or possibly only one contraction, if this is not your first baby) until the baby's head 'crowns'.
Crowning refers to when the widest part of the baby's head (or their crown) is emerging. At this point, the baby's crown, part of their forehead (nearly to their eyebrows) and the back of the baby's head can be clearly seen.
Image 6-09 shows an image of the head crowning and the perineum stretching.
||WARNING: This image shows a real photo of a baby's head crowning. If you would like to look at this image, Click here.( Image 6-10)
As the baby's head crowns, the woman's perineum is stretched to its maximum, being nearly paper-thin. There is usually an intense burning (or stinging sensation) for a few seconds as this occurs, generally easing as the perineum numbs. The burning can trigger panic for some women, causing them to cry out, or scream.
||WARNING:This image shows a real photo of a baby's head crowning, with the caregiver placing one hand on the baby's head and another holding a pad over the woman's anus. If you would like to look at this image, Click here.( Image 6-11)