The Stages of Labor

Giving birth is a life-changing experience for most women.

The Stages of Labor
The Stages of Labor

However, many first-time moms go into the experience unprepared. Labor is often overwhelming, but knowing what to expect can enhance a birth, while also increasing a mother’s ability to cope. The stages of labor are something that every mom passes through to welcome her new baby.

First Stage of Labor

The first stage of labor makes up the majority of the birthing experience. Labor officially begins when recognizable contractions start. As the uterus contracts, it creates pull on the cervix, which causes it to open. For some moms, this happens at a slow and steady rate. This scenario is more common for first-time mothers or women who have only had a few kids. For moms of multiples, this cervical stretching can happen very quickly. Once the cervix is completely open, with a measurement of at least ten centimeters, the first stage of labor is over.

The first stage of labor covers the preparation period. It can also be further divided into two phases: the early phase of labor and the active stage of labor. The active stage is when the mother’s contractions become quicker and closer together; this is also referred to by birth professionals as “transition.”

Second Stage of Labor

The second stage of labor is the pushing period. Once a woman’s cervix is completely dilated, the baby begins to move from the uterus to the vaginal opening. Again, the duration of this stage varies. The length is mostly dependent upon the prior birth experiences of the mother. Women who have not had children before tend to push longer than women who have a lot of birthing experience. Once the baby is born, the second stage of labor is over.

Third Stage of Labor

Most laboring moms overlook the third and final stage of labor. This is because it happens after the baby has been welcomed into the world. The third stage of labor deals with the delivery of the placenta. While not as much anticipation surrounds this laboring stage, it is extremely important. In order for a mom to have a quick and healthy recovery, full separation of the placenta is necessary. Without the completion of this third stage, the mom will be at risk for hemorrhage. Birthing professionals pay close attention to this last stage of labor.

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