Stage one of labour – cervix thins out and dilates from 1 to 10cm
Dilation is the cervix opening to allow the baby to come out.
Since every women’s labour is unique it is impossible to predict how long it will take to progress through each stage but typically the first stage is the longest stage that makes up the bulk of your labour.
Stage 1 of labour can be broken down into early labour, active labour and transition.
Early labour is when the cervix dilates from 1-3cm – generally contractions are coming at regular intervals and can last for up to 40 seconds.
Active labour is when cervix dilates from 3-7cm – contractions coming closer together and lasting longer.
Transition phase is when cervix is almost dilated completely .Contractions are coming rapidly with very little rest time in between.
Second Stage of Labour – the ‘pushing stage’
Once your cervix is fully dilated, the work of the second stage of labour begins: the final descent and birth of your baby. When the cervix has dilated to 10cm, you will feel the urge to push with each contraction. This stage can last from a few minutes to an hour. Once your baby is delivered, he or she will be placed on your tummy and the umbilical cord will be cut.
Third stage of labour
Minutes after giving birth, your uterus begins to contract again. The first few contractions usually separate the placenta from your uterine wall. An injection is usually given to help stimulate this process.
The third stage of labour involves the separation and delivery of the placenta and membranes. This stage can last up to an hour but many women are unaware of this stage as they are too busy getting to know their new baby.