Stages of Labour

The three stages of bringing you closer to your child.

First Stage

  • Often referred as the dilation stage. Its purpose is to dilate the cervix for the baby to be pushed out of the uterus and into the birth canal. Contractions can occur, but after the cervix's beginning of dilation.
  • Longest stage of labour, it begins with the first true contractions and ends when the cervix is fully dilated.
  • As the stage progresses, the contractions become stronger and powerful. Stronger, and most of all; closer together. When the cervix is dilated about 7-8 centimeters, she enters a phase called transition. Transition is, for most, the horrendously painful part of labour. The time between them is very short, and the mother-to-be would feel tired and stressed. But don't fret. Support is the best thing for her pain.
  • During transition, she may be moved to the delivery room from the labour room. She then will be prepared for the birth of the child.

Second Stage

  • Often referred to as the delivery stage. It begins when the cervix is fully dilated and ends when the baby is born. It doesn't last long, on average it lasts about 45 minutes. Also normal for it to last for a half-an-hour or two hours.
  • The mother is encouraged to start pushing, the force of the pushing will move the baby out of the uterus and through the birth canal. Crowning happens, the moment when the baby's head is first seen. The doctor, as crowning occurs, will decide of whether or not to perform an episiotomy. Episiotomy is a small cut made at the opening of the birth canal, it makes the vaginal opening wider so the baby has more room to be born.
  • After the baby's head is pushed out of the birth canal, the doctor turns it gently. This allows the shoulders to slide out easily. The rest comes out quickly after that. The amniotic fluid is suctioned from the baby's nose and mouth, the umbilical cord is cut and the baby is cleaned along with examination. Unless the baby needs urgent care, the baby is then handed to the parents.

Third Stage

  • Often referred as the afterbirth stage. The final stage of labour, the stage lasts about 10-20 minutes. The shortest stage of labour. Afterbirth is the name for when the placenta and the other tissues are still inside of the mother's body from the pregnancy. The tissues are no longer needed after the baby is born.
  • Mild contractions continue after the baby's birth. These contractions cause the placenta to separate from the wall of the uterus and exit through the vagina. After the placenta is out, it is examined carefully. The doctor wants to make sure that the placenta is not torn, and leaving excess tissue in the uterus. The tissues, however, left in the uterus after birth might cause heavy and uncontrollable bleeding. A nurse may massage the uterus to help it begin to shrink.