free website templates

Labour and Birth

Every woman’s birth experience is different. Trent will discuss with you what to expect for your labour and birth. Pregnancy classes run by the hospital or other persons are useful ways for both you and your partner to prepare for labour.

Stages of Labour

There are three main stages of labour. The time taken for each stage will vary from woman to woman.

The first stage of labour is when the contractions, or labour pains, begin and the cervix (neck of the womb) begins to open to allow the baby to pass through. On average, the first stage of labour lasts up to 10 to 14 hours for a first baby, and up to eight hours for a second baby.

The transition period is a changeover time near the end of the first stage when your cervix is nearly fully opened. Soon, the baby will start to move down into the vagina. Some women say this is the hardest part of labour.

The second stage of labour is when it is time for you to help push the baby out. You will probably feel a strong urge to push and here may be a stretching, burning feeling as the baby’s head gets to the entrance of the vagina. Some women like to use a mirror to watch the baby’s head come out. The second stage usually lasts about an hour for a first baby and between 15 and 30 minutes in second babies, but epidural blocks sometimes make this a little longer. The best position for giving birth in is the one you find most comfortable. Positions that use gravity such as sitting upright, squatting, straddling a chair or standing may be helpful.

The third stage of labour is when the placenta is born. This part is usually much easier – shorter and less painful. However, it is a very important stage and must be complete before everyone can relax. Most women have an injection or a synthetic hormone called syntocinon to help the uterus push out the placenta more quickly (in about 20-30 minutes).

Signs of Labour

The signs of the start of labour include:

  • contractions, which may feel like cramps that feel like a period, persistent dull lower backache inner thigh pain that may run down your legs. When the contractions are occurring at least every 5 minutes apart and feeling quite uncomfortable, you should call the delivery suite of the hospital that you are booked at. You are probably now in ‘established’ labour.
  • a ‘show’, which is passing some bloodstained or pink-coloured mucus. This is often a sign that the labour pains are going to start within the next day or two
  • your ‘waters breaking’, which is the bag or amniotic sac that holds your baby breaking. The fluid will usually be yellow or straw coloured.
When to call the hospital
  • if the labour pains are coming regularly, about every 5 minutes
  • if you think you have broken your waters
  • if you are not sure what is going on

Pain relief in labour 

Trent will discuss with you the various options for pain relief in labour. You may also make some decisions based on what you hear about in pregnancy classes or what you read. Many women however, especially with their first baby, only decide when they are in labour. Pain relief options are entirely your choice. They may include:

  • music or relaxation tapes, aromatherapy, massage, relaxation and breathing techniques, hot packs placed on the lower abdomen and/or back, hot showers and baths
  • keeping active and mobile in labour, and finding positions that are comfortable for you
  • a TENS machine, which passes a gentle electrical current through four flat pads stuck to your back
  • entonox (gas) which you breathe in through a mask or mouthpiece during the contractions
  • pethidine or morphine given as an injection into the muscle (usually the buttocks).
  • an epidural which is inserted by an anaesthetist. An epidural usually relieves all of the pain of labour.
Support in labour
It can be helpful to have people around you who can provide both emotional and physical support during labour. This might be your partner, mother, sibling or a close friend. You can have up to two people with you.

Suite 7, Level 1
Hurstville Private Hospital
37 Gloucester Rd
Hurstville NSW 2220 


Phone:  (02) 9580 2255                  
Fax:  (02) 9580 2244