Stages of Labor


What to Expect During the Three Stages of Labor

Having a baby is an exciting time in anyone’s life, but it can also be terrifying if you do not know what to expect at the end of your pregnancy. Labor is different for everyone, but every woman will go through the three stages of labor while delivering their baby. Here is what you should expect during the three stages of labor.

Stage 1: Early & Active Labor

The first stage is early and active labor. Early labor begins when the cervix starts to dilate. The length of early labor is different for every woman, but it will end once your water breaks. You will be in active labor once your water breaks, and it is time to get to the hospital as soon as possible. Your cervix will become dilated up to 10 centimeters, and you will start to have intense contractions. The contractions will also start to occur much more frequently than during early labor. Active labor usually lasts up to eight hours, so you should drink plenty of fluids while performing relaxing breathing techniques to reduce the pain. The pain will become the worst just before the end of the active labor stage.

Stage 2: Childbirth

The second stage of labor begins once your cervix has swelled up enough to make it safe to deliver the baby. You will spend most of the time in the childbirth stage of labor pushing the baby out of your body. You should follow the doctor’s instructions on the proper time push. If you push too hard or for too long, then you are at risk of tearing the vaginal tissues. The childbirth stage of labor may only last for a few minutes, but it can also last up to several hours. The second stage of labor takes longer for first-time moms or anyone that took an epidural. This stage concludes once the baby born.

Stage 3: Delivery of Placenta

You are not done once the baby has been delivered. You now have to enter the third stage of labor and deliver the placenta. Mild contractions may be present until the placenta is delivered. You will be asked to continue pushing to remove the placenta from your body. This should only take a few minutes, but it could potential last up to 30 minutes. Once the placenta has been delivered, you will be able to enjoy time with your new child.