There are three stages of childbirth and many women experience different variations when giving birth to a child. For someone to explain to you about their experience is just not the same as going through your own experience.
You have to go through your own experience to know exactly how you feel and some people can get anxious if they don’t know what to expect. This guide explains the three stages that you will go through when giving birth to a child and the general process so you’ll know what to expect in each stage during childbirth.
During first stage the cervix is dilated to 10 cm and contraction of the uterus begins. In second stage the baby is pushed out and delivered. In third stage the placenta is delivered.
The first stage is the longest of the three stages that can last from 10 to 16 hours for first childbirth and 4 to 8 hours in subsequent births. There are three phases in the first stage of labor, early phase, active phase, and transitional phase.
What to expect in early phase
• Your cervix dilates to about 3cm.
• Early contraction last 30 to 40 seconds with 5 to 20 minutes interval.
• Early contraction may or may not occur in regular interval.
• Early contractions are mild and you may not notice them.
• As contractions get stronger gradually you may experience cramps or backache.
• Your amniotic sac may rupture in early phase commonly known as water breaking.
What to expect in active phase
• Your cervix dilates from 3cm to 7cm.
• Contraction in active phase last 40 to 60 seconds with 3 to 4 minutes interval.
• Contractions are now stronger, longer, and more intense.
• You should be in the hospital during this phase.
What to expect in transitional phase
• Your cervix dilates from 7cm to 10cm.
• Contraction in this phase last 60 to 90 seconds with 2 to 3 minutes interval.
• Contractions are now very strong and intense.
• If your amniotic sac did not rupture earlier it may rupture in this phase.
• You may experience nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, chills, shakiness, or vomiting.
The cervix is fully dilated in the second stage and the baby is descended into the vagina birth canal. This stage usually last from 30 minutes to 2 hours with the baby descent head first and now your focus is to push the baby out.
You will feel strong pressure at your rectum and perineum as you try to push the baby out. You only push when you feel a strong urge and you may experience slight bowel movement or urination when pushing and this is normal.
As your baby’s head begin to stretch the opening of your vagina you will feel a burning, stinging sensation. If this is your first delivery it may take you several hours to push the baby out and subsequent delivery may take much shorter time in this stage.
In third stage, the placenta is separated from uterine wall and expelled out of the vagina within 30 minutes after childbirth. After the placenta is delivered, the doctor will monitor you closely to make sure your uterus continues to contract and bleeding has stop from site the placenta was detached.
Medical procedures used to assist childbirth delivery
There are different medical procedures used to assist childbirth delivery and these may include medication, episiotomy, forceps, and cesarean section.
The use of anesthesia has no effect on infant and it can help to ease labor. However, there are minimum risks associated with using anesthesia as it may slow or stop the labor, decrease blood pressure, and eliminate the ability to push during second stage labor.
Episiotomy is making incision in the perineum to reduce pressure on baby’s head and also help to prevent vaginal tearing. Research indicate that routine episiotomy during uncomplicated labor can cause more risk than benefits.
Forceps is a medical instrument designed to clasp the baby’s head and is used to deliver the baby out of the birth canal. Forceps is usually use after anesthetics have been used to reduced uterine contraction.
Cesarean section is making incision in the abdomen and uterus to
deliver the baby. The procedure is performed when the baby’s head is
too large for mother to have normal vaginal childbirth or during birth
complication when the baby’s feet are coming out first from the uterus.
Return from Childbirth to Conception
Return to Homepage Self Help Sexuality