Stages of Labor
Dilation Stage (First Stage)
- The purpose of this first stage is to allow the cervix to be dilated. Everything that occurs during this stage is centered around the dilation of the cervix.
- The first stage is the longest stage of labor, and begins with the first genuine contractions and ends with the cervix fully dilated.
- The contractions felt during first stage are frequent but short. Once contractions are every 5 to 10 minutes, it's time to go to the hospital!
- The woman will enter the transition phase: the most painful part of labor. During this phase the woman may be moved from the labor room to the delivery room.
- By this point, the amnio-chorionic membrane will have ruptured. Now it's time for the mother to push the baby, ending stage one.
~ Remember to relax! ~
Delivery Stage (Second Stage)
- The second stage begins when the cervix is fully dilated and ends when the baby is born. This stage only lasts about an average of 45 minutes.
- During this stage the mother is told to begin pushing. Soon after crowning occurs: the moment the baby's head is first seen.
- The doctor decides where to perform an episiotomy, which would help widen the vaginal opening to give the baby more room to be born.
- After the baby's head is pushed out of the birth canal the doctor turns it gently to allow the shoulders to slide out easily.
- Amniotic fluid is suctioned from the baby's nose and mouth, the umbilical cord is cut, and the baby is cleaned and examined.
Afterbirth Stage (Stage Three)
- The third and final stage lasts only 10 to 20 minutes.
- During this stage, the placenta and other tissues still inside the mother's body are removed.
- Mild contractions continue after baby is born, which causes placenta to separate from the wall of the uterus and exit through the vagina.
- The parents will bond with their newborn child!