View random article

What Is the Birth Canal?

The birth canal is the area between the fully dilated uterus during childbirth and the outside of the vagina where the baby passes during normal birth delivery. The vagina is generally considered as the birth canal although there are some who counts the cervix, the part where the uterus ends, as part of the birth canal
The major part of the birth canal is the vagina. The birth canal extends from the cervix to the vulva. The vaginal walls are made up of soft elastic folds of mucous membrane which stretches to accommodate the passage of the baby during childbirth.

During labor the cervix opens to accommodate the baby when it leaves the uterus. Then the baby passes through the vagina and out where the attending doctor or midwife catches the baby, cuts the umbilical cord and cleans the baby before making him nurse in his mother’s breast. The opening of the vagina can stretch to fit the baby’s head. However, it is usual for mothers to have an episiotomy during childbirth. Episiotomy is a minor procedure where the doctor cuts an opening in the vagina in the direction of the rectum and then it is stitched up. Some say this is to avoid multiple tearing of the vagina in case the baby’s head does not fit. Babies are also designed to pass through the birth canal. The baby’s head is not completely fused at birth so it can squeeze through. Eventually, the head completely fuse outside of the womb and the shape of the head is set.

Featured in Health