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The Stages of Labour

Labour, also known as childbirth, is divided into three main stages: the first stage, the second stage, and the third stage. Each stage plays a crucial role in the process of delivering your baby.

First Stage of Labour:

Early Labour: This phase marks the beginning of contractions and can last for several hours. The contractions are usually mild and irregular, causing the cervix to slowly thin out and dilate (open).

Active Labour: In this stage, the contractions become more intense, regular, and closer together. The cervix continues to dilate more rapidly, usually reaching about 6 centimeters or more. This stage can last long hours and requires the mother's active participation and coping techniques for pain management.

Transition: Transition is the final part of the first stage of labour. During this phase, the cervix fully dilates (usually around 10 centimeters). The contractions are strong, intense, and very close together. This is often the most challenging and intense part of labour for the mother.

Second Stage of Labour:

The second stage begins when the cervix is fully dilated, and it ends with the birth of the baby. During this stage, the mother will feel an urge to push as the baby's head moves through the birth canal. The baby's head becomes visible at the vaginal opening during each contraction, and with each push, the baby progresses further until it is completely born.

Third Stage of Labour:

The third stage starts immediately after the baby's birth and ends with the delivery of the placenta. The uterus continues to contract, causing the placenta to separate from the uterine wall. The mother will experience additional contractions, but they are usually less intense than during active labour. Once the placenta is delivered, the entire childbirth process is complete.

It's important to note that the duration and progression of labour can vary from woman to woman.

Did you know?

Doula support at births is shown to shortenlabour by an average of 41 minutes!

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The Village Doula

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