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Stages of Labor


I will give birth soon and I want to be prepared and know what to expect Let me share this information to all pregnant women out there like me. I got this from an old magazine and find it very useful.


Stage One: The Early Phase


Feels Like:

I’d been having contractions- they were noticeable but not regular. My stomach would get tight, and I’d feel a dull throb. When I walked, it felt like the baby’s head was pressing against me, and she might fall out if I moved my legs too far apart.


What’s happening? Regular contractions caused your cervix to begin effacing and dilating. The contractions get closer together and more intense, lasting up to a minute each. You may notice whitish or pinkish mucous discharge- that’s normal.


Lasts: 12-14 hours or longer for first-time moms.


Survival Tips

ü Don’t clock watch- Obsessive timing wears you out

ü Drink plenty- It’s easy to get dehydrated.

ü Hit the bathroom- It gives your baby room


The Active Phase


Feels Like: Suddenly the pain really hit. My body felt like it was being twisted in the middle, and I could feel the pain in every part of my body. I was surprised by how much my back hurt- I hadn’t expected that.


What’s Happening? Contractions get more intense and more frequent. If you hadn’t already called your OB, do it when painful contractions lasts 60 seconds or more every 5 minutes for an hour.


Lasts: 6 or more hours. Usually longer for first time moms.


Survival Tips

ü Keep moving. You may find it more comfortable to walk during contractions.

ü Get wet. A warm bath or shower can speed up labor.

ü Ask for relief. Research suggests this stage may be the best time to start pain relief.


Transition:


Feels Like: I was shaking all over and felt like I was going to throw up. It felt like there was no space for contractions anymore. I got dizzy because I forgot to breathe.


What’s happening? This is the most intense stage of labor. By its end, your cervix is fully dilated. Contractions which are very strong come about every 2 minutes and lasts a minute or longer. You may feel dizzy, nauseated, cold, angry, or dislike being touched.

Lasts: From a few minutes to a few hours.


Survival Tips

ü Ask for help. This is the most intense part of labor so ask for encouragement or pain relief if you need it.

ü Do some preparatory talk. Remind yourself before contractions start that the hard part ends.


Stage Two:


Feels Like: The pain didn’t stop, but it became bearable. I’d heard about pushing but didn’t realize how intense it would feel. Before I felt controlled by the pain, but now I can control it.


What’s happening? Your baby pushes through the birth canal, causing intense pressure. Contractions spread out; you can rest between them. You may feel a burning sensation as your baby’s head stretches the perineal tissue. Stage two ends when your baby is born.


Lasts: From a few minutes to a few hours.


Survival Tips

ü Keep trying. Move around until you find a comfortable position.

ü Take it easy. The decent may take a while. Let your uterus work before pushing.

ü Enjoy it. These moments are magical.

Stage Three


Feels Like: I was excited to see my daughter that I barely noticed what was happening. I felt a few mild contractions, almost like aftershocks. I was shaking all over- but I felt so happy seeing my daughter that I didn’t care.


What’s happening? Contractions push your placenta away from e uterine wall and through your birth canal. The hormone changes can make you shake or feel cold.


Lasts: 10 minutes on average



Survival Tips

ü Fall in love. Your brand new baby can be the best coping mechanism.

ü Speak up. If you’re cold, ask for blanket. If you’re sore, ask about pain relief.

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