ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Stages of Labor and Delivery - Pregnancy

Updated on January 13, 2010
Stages of labor and delivery
Stages of labor and delivery

Intro to Stages in Labor and Delivery

Labor and delivery are divided into three stages. During each stage, many changes are occurring within your body. The first stage of labor occurring from the time true labor begins until the cervix is completely dilated and the baby can pass out of the uterus through the cervix. The second stage of labor occurring from complete cervical dilation until the delivery of your baby. And finally the third stage of labor following delivery of the baby until the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and is expelled through the vagina. Labor and delivery times vary by woman and by pregnancy, as with everything else in pregnancy no two are exactly alike.

The blending of the following factors can affect your progress in labor and delivery:

  • Position of the baby's head.
  • Size of baby.
  • Presentation of baby.
  • Size and shape of mother's pelvis.
  • Mother's physical and emotional state.
  • The effectiveness of the contractions in dilating the cervix
  • Medications or anesthesia administered.

First stage of labor

The first stage of labor is usually the longest because there are many phases within the first satge. It begins with the onset of true labor and ends when the cervix is completely dilated or 10cms. The average duration for this stage for women having their first child is 12-16 hours, and for women having their second or third baby this stage is around 6-10 hours. There are three phases within the first stage of labor.

Early phase: The early phase lasts from the start of labor until the cervix dilates to 3 centimeters. The duration of this phase averages 8 hours and is usually the longest. Women are very social in this phase of labor and feeling very eager and excited. It is not necessary to go to the hospital. The contractions are mild, somewhat irregular, but progressively stronger and closer together.

Active phase: The active phase of labor dialtes your cervix to 7 centimeters and averages around 4-5 hours. It is about time to go to the hospital. The contractions grow stronger and are progressively longer. Women are no longer social.

Transition phase: Transition phase: The transition phase is the hardest phase within the first stage of labor, but thank goodness it is the shortest. It can be as short as 30 minutes and as long as 2 hours. This phase will dilate the cervix up to full dilation or 10 centimeters. These contractions are very intense and they may almost seem as if they are one right after another. When you feel an urge to push, tell your health care provider.

Stages of labor and delivery
Stages of labor and delivery

 Second stage of labor: The second of labor starts when the cervix is fully dilated and is completed with the delivery of the baby. Now it is time to push. This stage is shorter than the first stage, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Your nurse will tell you when it is time to push your baby.

Third stage of labor: The third stage of labor begins after the baby is born and ends with the delivery of the placenta. It is the shortest stage and lasts anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. After a few labor like contractions and massage of your uterus, the placenta is expelled.

Below is a list to help you in determining when to go to the delivery room or hospital:

Labor contractions:

  • Growing more intense.
  • Following the regular pattern.
  • Lasting longer.
  • Becoming closer together.
  • Discomfort in back and lower abdomen.
  • Discomfort does not stop with walking.

When your water breaks (amniotic sac ruptures) note the following:

  • Amount of fluid.
  • Color of fluid.
  • Odor of fluid.
  • Time rupture occured.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Elle M N 

      3 years ago

      Every labour is different and this is just a mass generalisation. For example, "early phase of labour averages 8 hours"; mine lasted weeks! I was 3cm dilated from week 34 on my 2nd child, and slowly went through effacement. I am currently 70% effaced on my 4th child and have 3 weeks to go. It depends on so much.

      Transition lasts "anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours"; I have had 3 children, 2 of which the transition phase lasted no longer than 15 minutes.

      These type of articles are great for giving you a general idea what to expect, but do remember that everyone is different.

    • profile image

      Lia Berquist 

      5 years ago

      If you find you are scared, the best thing to do is to take a childbirth class. And not one offered through your hospital. All they do is educate you on how to accept their interventions (which end up being the scary part). Take a class from an independent certified childbirth educator. I personally love the Bradley Method.

    • profile image

      june 

      6 years ago

      im due number 6 in 11 weeks & its not as bad as some people make it out to be. my 1st was 9lb 10oz & i had zero pain relief (not by choice, it just went too quickly) if you stay calm & focus on something during contractions it helps to distract you from the pain as does the gas & air :-) also if you can push without screaming its so much better for you, on baby 1 i screamed so much i had a very very sore throat for weeks afterwards, on the other 4 i didn't shout or scream & felt much better for it. i don't have a very high tolerence for pain at all but when you focus on the out come you'll be surprised what you can do. the only tip i can give of any use is stay calm, labour does last a long time & if you freak out from the 1st pain it will only seem longer & harder........good luck

    • profile image

      Betty Vought 

      6 years ago

      God,am scared because dis is my first.Hope it not that painful?

    • profile image

      Karen 

      7 years ago

      Now i know what my OB-Gyne means when she said that my cervix is 2cm open. :D Btw. I'm a firs time mom and my labor last at 6 hrs. :)

    • profile image

      shilu 

      7 years ago

      great.

    • RitaDoulaRN profile image

      Rita 

      7 years ago from North Long Beach, California

      Good technical information. Except I tell first time parents stage one can last 1 - 3 days, so they don't keep coming in every 12 hours for checks, because they are "following the book."

    • profile image

      lou 

      7 years ago

      you should be im having my 5th and hurts like hell, nothing prepares you for the event NOTHING! why 5? im stupid. Best thing i ever did was scream louder than the pain!! great if your midwifes are cool, i had one moody doctor kept telling me to stop making noise, i promptly told her where to go!!

      couldn't sit down for 3 weeks following a 9lb baby, Piles-they never told me id be giving birth to my arse too

      good luck x x xx x

    • profile image

      Syb 

      7 years ago

      Yes Melinda I agree with you!

    • profile image

      Melinda 

      7 years ago

      Gee thanks, I'm now officially scared shitless.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)