eHealthPedia >

Stages of Labor

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Stages of Labor
Stages of Labor
Symptoms of Labor
Treating pain during labor

Labor, delivery and childbirth
Labor is the process by which contractions of the uterus cause birth.  Many women, especially with their first babies, think they are in labor when they're not.  Common questions include, "What happens during labor?  What do contractions feel like?  And how do I know that labor has begun?"  We'll review each of these questions and provide you with the answers you need.  Understanding the typical signs of labor can help you know what to expect as your due date approaches.

First, it is important to know that every labor is different. The duration and progression of labor differs from woman to woman and from birth to birth. There are, however, general guidelines for labor that a doctor uses to decide whether the delivery is normal, or not. And the basic process is the same. Labor occurs in three stages which are:

1. Dilation and effacement

2. Baby delivery

3. Placenta delivery

During stage 1, or dilation and effacement,  the cervix thins out and opens to allow the fetus to move from the uterus into the vagina. This stage usually lasts several hours. By the end of the first stage, the cervix will have fully dilated from 0-3 cm to around 10 cm. When the cervix is 3 to 4 cm dilated, active labor begins. Contractions become more intense and more frequent, and the cervix dilates faster. First time mothers usually progress faster through this stage.

During stage 2, or the baby delivery, the mother pushes while the muscles of the uterus contract to move the fetus through the birth canal.  The second stage of labor may last 2 or 3 hours, depending the position of the baby's head, the size of the baby and the size of the birth canal.  This stage ends when the baby is born.

During stage 3, or placenta delivery, the afterbirth comes out of the uterus through the birth canal. This usually happens within 30 minutes after the birth of the baby. 

1 2 3 >>
Tags: what do contractions feel like, baby delivery, contractions, Childbirth, afterbirth, placenta, Due date, muscles, vagina, cervix, woman, head, baby due date, baby stages, Labor Delivery, baby labor, after childbirth, baby questions, become doctor, babies birth
Related Topics
the Long Awaited Birth Story
Dannzibelle  1920 views
Is This the Start of Labor?? Hopefully!!!!
spoiledbrat0627  1540 views
Contractions
megums1211  1938 views
Delivery of Adderall XR 30MG ?
CaptainSmokey  1460 views
I Had the Baby
caracook  1925 views
Contractions
callie8323  2552 views
sex after childbirth
preggie meggie  2031 views
How Do I Induce Labor?
MeMaria3  6611 views
Delivery System
Berger57  989 views
Spent the Night In Labor And Delivery.
jessesgirl  1693 views
Epidural
playgurlie85  1577 views
Mucus Plug
aduke00  14128 views