By:Cheyenne & Abby

First stage of labor

Start having contractions that cause changes in the cervix and ends when your cervix is fully dilated. The first stage is divided into smaller stages.

Early Labor: Your cervix thins out and opens up.

Active Labor: Cervix begins to dilate more rapidly, and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together.

second stage of labor

  • The second stage of childbirth involves pushing and the delivery of your baby. Until this point your body has been doing all the work for you. Now that your cervix has fully dilated to 10 cm it is your time to help by pushing.

    Pushing and what to expect:

    • The second stage can last from 20 minutes to 2 hours

    • Contractions will last about 45-90 seconds at intervals of 3-5 minutes rest in between

    • You will have a strong natural urge to push

    • You will feel strong pressure at your rectum

    • You are likely to have a minor bowel or urination accident

    • Your baby’s head will eventually crown (become visible)

    • You will feel a burning, stinging sensation during crowning

    • During crowning you will be told by your health care provider to not push

    Get into a pushing position that uses gravity to your advantage

  • Push when you feel the urge

  • Relax your pelvic floor and anal area (Kegel exercises can help)

  • Rest between contractions to help regain your strength

  • Use a mirror to view your progress (This can be very encouraging!)

  • Use all your energy to push

  • Do not become discouraged if your baby’s head emerges and then slips back into the vagina (this process can take two steps forward and one step back)

Tips for the support person:

  • Help her to relax and be as comfortable as possible (Give her ice chips if available and provide physical support her in her position.

  • Encourage, encourage, encourage

  • Help guide her through her contractions.

  • Give verbal encouragement by telling her how well she is doing

  • Don't be offended if she displays anger or becomes emotional.

What your baby is doing:

While you are experiencing labor, your baby is taking certain steps to enter this world.

1. Your baby’s head will turn to one side and the chin will automatically rest on the chest so that the back of the head can lead the way.

2. Once you are fully dilated, your baby’s head leads the way and the head and torso begin to turn to face your back as they enter your vagina.

3. Next your baby’s head will begin to emerge or “crown” through the vaginal opening.

4. Once your baby’s head is out, the head and shoulders will again turn to face your side, allowing your baby to easily slip out.

Delivery and what to expect:

Keep in mind that your baby has been soaking in a sac of amniotic fluid for nine months. Following the contractions and passage through your very narrow birth canal, the baby will display the following characteristics:

  • Cone-shaped head

  • Vernix coating (cheesy substance that coats the fetus in the uterus)

  • Puffy eyes

  • Lanugo (fine downy hair that cover the shoulders, back, forehead, and temple)

  • Enlarged genitals

Third stage

begins right after the birth of your baby and ends with the delivery of the placenta.

Every pregnancy is different, and there's wide variation in the length of labor. For first-time moms, labor often takes between ten and 20 hours. For some women, though, it lasts much longer, while for others it's over much sooner. Labor generally progresses more quickly for women who've already given birth vaginally.