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Things you need to know

Things you need to know

Stages of labour

Stages of labour

Labour is a natural process in which your baby prepares to leave the uterus leading to childbirth. The process of labour is classified majorly into 4 stages – dilation of the cervix, childbirth, birth of the placenta and recovery. 

Every labour is a unique experience for every woman.

The first stage of labour

The first stage of labour

The first stage of labour begins when you experience regular contractions. These contractions cause your cervix to start to open (dilate) and become thin and soft (effacement). These changes help your baby to move into the birth canal. 

The first stage of labour is divided into two parts – 

Early labour – Early labour can last for hours or even days for women. During this stage, you may experience irregular contractions, period-like pain, loose bowel motions and an urge to vomit. You may also notice a pink-coloured, blood-stained discharge. 

Active labour – During this phase of the first stage of labour, your cervix begins to dilate from 6 cm to 10 cm. You will experience more frequent and stronger contractions. Other symptoms of active labour include leg cramping, nausea and pressure in the back. Active labour can last between 4-8 hours.

The second stage of labour

The second stage of labour

The second stage of labour involves childbirth or the delivery of your baby. It is the period when your cervix is fully dilated to the delivery of your baby. The time taken to deliver a baby varies from one woman to another. 

You can expect to experience the following during the second stage of labour:

Your healthcare provider will help you deliver the baby and guide you on when to push. He/she may also advise you about the different positions, labour pain management and staying motivated to push.

The third stage of labour

The third stage of labour

The third stage of labour includes the delivery of the placenta. In this stage, you will experience more contractions (slightly mild) and a feeling of fullness in your vagina. The third stage of labour lasts upto 5-30 minutes and may sometimes take longer. Your obstetrician will ask you to push one more time to deliver the placenta.

The fourth stage of labour

The fourth stage of labour

The fourth and final stage of labour involves active and physiological management and recovery. In this stage, your healthcare provider will lower your risk of heavy postpartum bleeding.

FAQs
FAQs

The time period of labour varies for every woman. On average, the first stage of labour can last for several hours (10-14 hours).

The time between dilating to 1 cm is different for each woman. Some women experience dilation within a few hours while others may take several hours to achieve.

Early signs of labour include frequent contractions, display of mucus plug, back pain and an increased urge to urinate.

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