Even if you have had a child (or children) before then you may not even have realized that your labor has stages that it goes through until you finally reach the pinnacle where you deliver your baby.
Not to fear, we’ve got you covered. Here is an easy to follow guide for each stage of the labor process.
Early Labor: At this stage, your cervix will begin to dilate (open) and efface (thin out). Mild contractions will start and become stronger and stronger until the time comes to push. Your water may or may not break.
In these early stages of labor, the contractions won’t be uncomfortable enough to stop you from doing your normal activities. You may desire to labor through this early stage within the comfort of your home where you are at your most relaxed.
You should call your doctor or midwife and inform them of your condition.
Active Labor: Contractions will be coming on stronger now and staying longer. Active labor is considered in full effect when your contractions are coming about five minutes apart and are lasting anywhere from forty seconds to a minute or so.
Your cervix will begin dilating anywhere from four to eight centimeters and the intensity of your contractions won’t be able to go unnoticed. You may or may not be able to walk and move freely during a contraction and this is the time that an epidural would be administered if you’re choosing to have one.
Transition: For most women, transition is considered the hump of the labor process. You get over this part and bringing your baby into the world isn’t far behind.
Your cervix will complete its dilation at this time, effacing itself out completely and opening the last few inches until you are completely dilated at ten centimeters.
Contractions will be at their strongest, coming every two to three minutes or so and lasting longer than a minute.
You may or may not experience shaking, feeling nauseated, and an increasingly strong desire to push. Your baby is ready to make her debut and wants it to be known.
Delivery: This is the final stage of labor – the time has come to now start pushing and deliver your child.
With your help pushing and that of your combined uterus and abdominal muscles contracting as well, it won’t be long until you have your newborn in your arms.
- Just like every pregnancy is different, every labor is different. Things don’t always go as planned or as smoothly as you may have hoped.
- What’s important is to educate yourself by doing your own research and communicate with your doctor every step of your pregnancy. Going into your labor ready and enlightened can help make for an enjoyable experience.
About the author: Danielle is a freelance blogger and editor specializing in parenting, family, pregnancy, social media, and entrepreneurial topics. To learn more about Danielle, please visit her website at www.PenPointEditorial.com.