Most people are aware of the contractions and labor pain that precede the birth of a child. However, not many know that there are several more processes at work before and after the birth of a child. As per medical science, there are three prominent stages of labor. For better understanding, here’s a brief overview of the three stages of labor and the normal delivery process.
Stage 1: In the first stage, the cervix starts to dilate and open up gradually. The first stage can be further classified into the pre-labor phase, active phase and transitional phase. Contractions start in the pre-labor phase and the pain starts to become stronger gradually. Every woman has a different response to the pre-labor phase. Some women may not be aware of the internal contractions whereas other women may feel the pain from the start. The next sub-phase is the active phase, wherein the cervix would have dilated to 3-4 cm. The contractions will become stronger at this time and the pain may also intensify. There will be an increase in the number of contractions and the duration of such contractions. It will occur every 3-4 minutes, with each contraction lasting around 60-90 seconds. The next sub-phase is the transitional phase, wherein the cervix would have dilated 8-10 cm. Contractions would be occurring every 2-3 minutes and lasting for more than 60 seconds. This is a very uncomfortable phase for women, as they may feel sick, shivery and shaky.
Stage 2: The second stage begins when the dilation in the cervix has reached 10 cm. This is the time when a pregnant woman experiences an urge to push the baby out. At this stage, the baby will move to the birth canal. After this, the body seems to take a break and the contraptions stop for some time. However, the contractions start again after the brief rest and the pregnant woman will experience the pressure of the baby’s head. This is the time when women are asked to push, allowing the baby to slowly come through the pelvis. With each push, the baby moves a little further out. Once the baby has moved through the pelvis, its head will start to appear at the opening of the vagina. After this, the woman will be required to stop pushing and start panting gently. This will ensure a gradual and smooth delivery.
Stage 3: In the third stage, the placenta comes out. A few minutes after the delivery of the baby, the mother will start experiencing the contractions again. However, these would be mild and easily manageable. The post-delivery contractions are nature’s way to remove the placenta from the wall of the uterus. The placenta will peel completely and pass down to the womb. After this, the woman will experience the urge to push. Eventually, the placenta will pass through the vagina. The placenta will be examined to ensure that no parts are left behind. The woman will be examined to see if the contractions in the uterus are strong enough to stop the bleeding.
There are several more technicalities involved during labor and delivery, but those would be difficult for everyone to understand. However, feel free to ask your doctor if you have any queries or are concerned about any specific issues.