Labour and birth

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The woman goes through three stages of labour. This article lets you understand what goes on in each of the stages.

The first stage of labour

In this stage, the cervix dilates because of the contractions. At the start, the cervix first softens so that it is able to open. You would feel contractions that are irregular and this is called the latent phase. The phase lasts for many hours or days before true labour gets established.

You are into labour when your cervix has dilated to more than 3cms and are having contractions that are regular. This opens the cervix.

It is advised that you eat and drink at this stage so that you get the energy that is required in the later stages of labour. Stay comfortable and relaxed if you enter into labour at night. It helps to stay gently active if you are into the latent stages of labour during the day. This helps the baby move into the pelvis and also lets the cervix dilate.

A warm water bath, breathing exercises and a massage can help to ease some pain when you are in the early stages of labour.

If you water breaks if you feel contractions that are very regular and there are at least 3 contractions in every 10 minutes, if you feel strong contractions and you feel like you need pain relief or if you feel worried then get in touch with your doctor or your midwife immediately.

The second stage of labour

This is when the cervix is dilated completely and lasts until the baby is born. Your doctor will help you stay in a comfortable birthing position.

When your cervix is dilated fully your baby is able to move down the birthing canal and towards the vaginal entrance. You will start to feel an urge to push. You will start to feel like pushing when you get the urge and during the contractions.

This is the toughest stage and your midwife will help you with it.

When the baby’s head is out then the midwife will tell you to stop pushing and take short breaths. This is done so that the baby’s head can come out slowly and so that the skin and the muscle between the vagina and the anus get time to stretch.

Once the baby’s head is out the rest of the body comes out in one or two contractions.

The third stage of labour

This is the stage after the baby is born. This is when your womb contracts and the placenta come out from the vagina. This stage is managed in two ways. They are either active, when the woman is given treatment to speed up the things, or physiological when no treatment is given and the stage happens naturally.


Make sure that you discuss your preference with your doctor during your early stages of labour. The doctor would take a call based on what is best suited for you.

(Any health-related information or any medical opinion in the content is gathered from secondary sources and is only for the purpose of information and this should not be treated as a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Using this site and the information contained in it is not to create a doctor-patient relationship. Always make sure to seek the advice of your doctor if you have any issues or questions regarding yours or the health of others.)


3 thoughts on “Labour and birth

  1. Melissa K

    Simple, straightforward, to the point and very very informative website on pregnancy. The content of this site is easily readable and one common person can understand having without any medical knowledge. From my side, I would like to give it 5 stars!


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