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What Are The Stages Of Labour?

What are the Stages of Labour

Recognizing the signs of real labor can help you when is the right time to go to the hospital and learning about the stages of labour will help you know what can be expected during labor and delivery. 

When regular contractions start, the baby moves down into the pelvis as the cervix thins and opens (dilates).

How long the labor lasts and how it progresses is entirely different from woman to woman and for every woman but each stage attributes some milestones that are true for every woman. 

Labor is typically divided into 3 distinct stages:
First Stage of Labor
– The first stage of labour is the longest for about 12 hours more or less. The first stage of labour is again divided into 3 phases: latent phase, active phase, and transition phase.

Latent phase is the longest and least intense. At this phase, contractions become more frequent helping your womb or cervix to thin out and stretch apart over the baby’s head so that your baby can pass through the birth canal. The discomfort at this stage is minimal. At this phase, your cervix will dilate approximately 3 to 4 centimeters or thin out.

If your contractions become more frequent, you will be admitted to the hospital and get frequent pelvic exams to check how much your cervix is dilated.

During active phase, your cervix dilates anywhere from 4 to 7 cms. You will feel an intense pain or pressure in your abdomen or back during every contraction. You will also feel the urge to push, but your doctor will ask you to wait until your cervix is opened completely.

During transition phase, your cervix dilates (opens) fully to 10 cms. Your contractions become very strong, frequent, and painful coming every 3 to 4 minutes and lasting for 60 to 90 seconds.

What you can do at this first stage of labour ?

  • Have a shower bath as long as your water has not broken that is your amniotic fluids and rest and relax.
  • Listen to light music or watch TV.
  • Try to change your positions to make yourself comfortable.
  • Take a walk around the house or a room.
  • Go to the bathroom frequently to empty your bladder.
  • Try placing ice packs on your lower back and place a cold cloth on your forehead.
  • Keep sucking ice chips or cubes.
  • Get someone to rub your lower back.
Second Stage of LabourStage 2 begins when your cervix is completely opened (dilated). At this time, your doctor will ask you to push along with the force of your contractions to help your baby propel through the birth canal. The soft spots (fontanels) on your baby's head will allow it to fit through the narrow canal. As soon as your baby's head comes out, your doctor will suction out the amniotic fluid, blood, and mucus from your baby’s nose and mouth. You will continue pushing to deliver your baby's shoulders and rest of the body.

At second stage of labour:

  • It lasts for about 20 minutes or long (several hours especially for the first time moms).
  • You feel pressure on your rectum as your baby's head is moving down the birth canal.
  • You feel the urge to push.
  • Your doctor may give you an episiotomy (a small cut to enlarge the vaginal opening).  Most women do not need an episiotomy.
  • Your baby's head begins to show (crown).
  • Your doctor will guide you the baby out of the birth canal.
  • Your doctor may use special tools to help you in your delivery.
  • Your baby is delivered and the umbilical that connects you and your baby is cut.
What you can do at second stage of labour ?
  • Adopt yourself to a position that is most comfortable for you to push.
  • Push when you have the urge or when your doctor tells you to push.
Once your baby is delivered, your doctor or your husband will clamp and cut the umbilical cord. 

Third Stage of Labour – After your baby is delivered, you will enter the final stage of labor. At this third stage of labour, you deliver the placenta (the organ that nourishes your baby inside the womb).

Each woman and each labor is different. The amount of time spent in each stage of delivery will vary from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. If it is your first pregnancy, labor and delivery usually lasts for about 12 to 14 hours. The process usually becomes shorter for the subsequent pregnancies.

Articles you may be interested in:

What Are The Early Signs Of Labor ?

What Are The Pain Treatments During Labor ?

What To Expect After A Childbirth ?

Normal Delivery (Vaginal Birth)

What Is Induced Labour And Why It Is Done ?

Home Induction Methods On How To Induce Labour