Stages of Labor

Labor is broken down into three different stages. These three stages are Early, Active and Transition. Each of these three stages have their own phases and different feelings that you will be having, but you must keep in mind that each person and each pregnancy is different with different pains and different bodily movements.

Stage One: EARLY

In this first stage of labor you may dilate up to three centimeters, and you may be having contractions that last 30 seconds to a minute. The contractions will be coming every 15 to 20 minutes apart; when they start out. As your contractions continue they will become closer together and last longer. Throughout this early stage of labor you may have some lower back pain. Usually your contractions are mild and described as uncomfortable but not painful. Your amniotic sac may break. If the sac breaks then you may have s a small amount of bloody discharge. You should try and rest if possible during this stage. Later on you will be using lots of energy to birth the baby.

Stage Two: ACTIVE

In this stage you may dilate up to seven centimeters. Your contractions in this stage are about a minute long and usually come as close as two to three minutes apart. Your discharge will become more if your sac broke in the early stage of labor. If your sac has not broken and you are unable to have it break on its own then your doctor or midwife will do that for you. Most of the time he /she will use a hook like tool to break it. It is usually not painful but a little uncomfortable. In this stage you may still have lower back pain as well as other pain. As your contractions get stronger they will become more intense. This is necessary to complete dilation. You may have become tired during the active stage of labor. This is usually because this stage is so long for most women.

Stage Three: TRANSITION

In this stage you will dilate from eight to ten centimeters . Your contractions will become more intense and might last as long as 90 seconds. You are now in the stage to start Pushing out the baby. It is in this stage that the baby, usually, is turning to fit just right in the birth canal. The pain may become intense due to the baby’s head. Also due to the baby moving into the birth canal there may be pressure on your rectum. Because of the pressure you may want to push. You may also feel sleepy, irritable or even confused. All of these feelings are normal.

The Second Part of Transition

In this part of transition you are 10 centimeters dilated and entering into the “Pushing Stage”. The contractions are usually two to five minutes apart and can last up to 90 seconds. The “Pushing Stage” will have moved the baby’s head out and now the baby is turning to line up his or her shoulders with the birth canal. Once the shoulders are lined up with the canal the baby is a lot easier to push out. Most women just want to push with all they have to “Just get it over with”. With the pushing and the baby’s shoulder movement the pressure in your rectal area may increase. Also you may feel some burning, a sensation, while the baby’s head is moving outward.

The Third Part of Transition

“YES!” The baby is now out; you are now a mother of a beautiful baby boy/girl. BUT you are not done. You may be thinking “why not?” You must now give ‘birth’ to the placenta, which can take any where from 5 to 30 minutes. And yes you are still going to have contractions but they are less intense than those you were feeling to birth the baby. The placenta is going to detach and then you are going to push it out though the birth canal. After this is done you may still have contractions for a few hours, this is while the uterus is shrinking down to size. You will also have a heavy bloody discharge from your vagina; like a really heavy period. Congratulations on the birth of your baby.

IN ADDITION

Each pregnancy and birth experience is unique, it varies from woman to woman. You will also have many decisions to make while you are delivering your baby. There are many different pain medications that you can take, some are Epidural, Narcotic, Sterile water Block or Spinal Anesthetic, there are many others so ask your doctor which is best for you. There are also things that help that are not medication, some of those are walking, leaning on something or someone, Kneeling from knee to knee, sitting or using a labor ball. Feel free to be creative, do whatever it is that makes you feel better, or feels right to you.

Comments

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