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: