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All you need to know about the first stage of labor

After the pleasant nine months journey, the next thing a mother-to-be anticipates is the labor. You must have often heard that labor is difficult but don’t you worry since no two deliveries are identical and therefore, the birth of your child is going to be a special and magical experience.

Nonetheless, it is always good to be assertive and prepared that is why here we have for you the stages of labor and what to expect.

What are the stages of labor?

There are four stages of labor, and they are:

  • Stage 1

At this stage of labor, you experience frequent and intense contractions which generally last for 12 to 19 hours.

  • Stage 2

his stage lasts for 20 min to 2 hours. At this stage, your doctor recommends you to start pushing since it is the right stage to deliver your baby.

  • Stage 3

At this stage, the placenta is delivered. This stage lasts for about 5 to 30 minutes.

  • Stage 4

Stage 4 is the time for you to rest and recover after you deliver your baby. It is the first 2 to 3 hours after birth.

What are the signs of labor?

As you approach your due date, you often start paying attention to the smallest details in your body for a sign of labor.

Here are a few things which indicate the start of labor:

  • The contractions become frequent and strong
  • Persistent lower back pain and cramping
  • Water breaking
  • A pink or brownish jelly-like discharge

When you experience any of the sighs mentioned above, we suggest you contact your healthcare specialist or rush to a nearby birth center.

What to expect during the first stage of labor?

It is the longest part of labor that can last up to 20-25 hours. As mentioned earlier, you will know that you have entered the first stage of labor when you start experiencing contractions that are progressive, frequent, and strong. This is because of the changes happening in your cervix, and it continues until your cervix is fully dilated.

This stage is divided into two phases:

Early labor

The series of events occurring in this phase are:

  • The cervix gradually thins out and dilates (3 centimeters)
  • The contraction eventually comes to every 5 min and lasts for 20-40 seconds
  • The contractions are accompanied by pain
  • Mucusy vaginal discharge tinged with blood is noticed
  • This stage ends when the cervix is about 4 to 6 centimeters dilated

To divert your mind from the pain and discomfort, you can:

Must read - How to deal with labor pain

  • Take a short walk
  • Take a warm bath
  • Watch a video

Active labor

Depending on the individual, this phase may take six to 12 hours. The series of events occurring in this phase are:

  • The cervix begins to dilate more rapidly (from 3 centimeters to 7 centimeters)
  • The contractions are longer, stronger, and closer (each lasting about 60 seconds and comes every five minutes for an hour)
  • This stage ends when the cervix is about 8 to 10 centimeters dilated
  • Toward the end of this stage, the baby may begin to descend

The last part of the active labor as also termed as the transition phase where the cervix is fully dilated and the labor moves to the second stage.

To divert your mind from the pain and discomfort, you can:

  • Ask someone for a massage
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Take a warm shower or bath
  • If the pain is unbearable, you can go for the pain medication and epidural

Remember that the information mentioned above may vary from individual to individual since everyone is unique. Therefore, take this as guidelines for your magical adventure.

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