Crowning is the term which refers to the moment when your baby’s head becomes visible without retreating back inside the vaginal canal. Your healthcare provider may see your baby’s head on more than one occasion as you push through the labor process.
Crowning may cause a burning or stinging feeling as the head of your baby causes your vaginal opening to widen. It is important to stop pushing when you feel this burning or stinging. This reduces the chances of any tearing. Numbness will follow because the baby’s head is widening your vaginal tissue which let’s the nerves be blocked. This is your body’s way of providing pain relief.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 17. Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Simkin, Penny, P.T., et al, Ch. 9.
American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org