Stages of Labor

Childbirth – Stages of Labor

Even though each labor is unique, there are 3 Stages of Labor that may be used to characterize the labor and delivery process. The recovery phase may be seen by some as the fourth stage.

Your health team can better understand your stage of labor, communicate with one another, and plan for your needs before, during, and after delivery if you break it down into phases.

The duration of your contractions and the intervals between them are all distinguishing characteristics of these phases. It might be difficult for you to precisely identify which stage of labor you are in, however, since every labor is unique. You may always ask your midwife for assistance in figuring out what stage you are in.

Here are the initial three Stages of Labor:

The First Stage of Labor

The latent phase is the first step of the first stage of labor. This stage may persist for many hours or even days and is the longest. In preparation for giving birth, your cervix thins and starts to widen (dilate) to a diameter of around 4-6 centimeters. You may have frequent or irregular contractions at this stage, however, they usually aren’t uncomfortable. Given how mild they may be, some women may not even be aware of their contractions throughout this stage. Typically, you are able to remain at home throughout this part of labor. Try to unwind and relax by stretching gently or using soothing methods like mindfulness or meditation.

The active phase is the second step of the first stage of labor. Your cervix dilates to a height of around 8 centimeters at this point. Your contractions will become stronger and more frequent throughout this stage. Your contractions may occur at this stage at intervals of 3 to 4 minutes, lasting 30 to 60 seconds each. During this stage, the majority of women decide to visit a hospital or birthing facility.

The transition phase is the third stage of the first stage of labor. Your cervix completely dilates at this stage, creating a passageway for your baby that is 10 centimeters wide. Your contractions will intensify as the first stage of labor draws to a close, and you could experience pressure in your lower abdomen or a desire to use the restroom. Your baby is pushing on your rectum, which is the source of this.

The Second Stage of Labor

The second stage of labor starts after your cervix has completely dilated. Your uterus contracts strongly during the second stage of labor, however, they may become more spread out to allow your body a chance to relax in between. To push your baby out into the world, you will need to use your body’s natural forces.

You can have the impulse to push to aid in the birth of your child. This is because your pelvic region is being compressed by the baby’s head. If this is not your first child, the second stage of labor may go considerably more quickly than two hours.

You and your spouse or support person may experience physical and emotional agony during the second stage of labor. During this phase, pain may be managed in a variety of ways, including with medications and non-medical care. During a prenatal appointment, it might be beneficial to plan ahead and discuss your options for pain management with your doctor or midwife to be sure they will work for your situation.

The Third Stage of Labor

The third stage of labor starts after your baby is born. The placenta and the membranes that encircled your unborn child in your uterus are delivered at this time. To assist with this, your midwife could encourage you to gently push. While you might experience contractions now, they won’t be as intense as they were when you gave birth to your child.


The umbilical cord that connected your unborn child to your placenta is clamped and severed during this laboring process. Let your midwife know in advance whether you want that the umbilical cord remains undamaged or to be clipped later so that they may make the necessary arrangements. Talk to your midwife and include it in your birth plan if your birth partner would want to cut the cord.

Recovery Stage

You may relax, greet your baby, and start to regain your strength when labor is ended. Your recuperation will be monitored by the midwives in the postnatal ward or birthing facility, who will also take your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. They will touch your abdomen to feel your uterus’ top and see whether it has begun to contract again. In order to check for bruises and make sure that you are not bleeding excessively, they will also inspect your perineum.

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