When you think of labor you see yourself in a hospital or on a table pushing out your baby, but truthfully it starts long before any of that. 

You can be in the first stage of labor at home for more than a week without even knowing it.  In this article, we’ll go over each stage so you know all about labor and what to expect during this exciting time. 

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The 4 Stages Of Labor


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First Stage Of Labor


The first stage of labor is the longest and it involves three parts of its own. It usually begins when you’re at home and you’re unaware. 

The early labor begins when your cervix starts to dilate and lasts till you are about 4cm.

You won’t likely even notice anything is going on at this point although you may be having very small waves of contractions that aren’t even painful. 


What to expect during this phase:

  • This stage can last a few days
  • Your cervix will dilate to 4cm 
  • You’ll have contractions every 5 to 20 minutes and they’ll only last about 30 seconds 
  • contractions may be mild and hardly noticeable


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The second part of the first stage is when you begin active labor. It begins at 4cm and ends at 7cm. At this point, you will likely have very real labor pain and it may be hard to talk. 

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This is the period when you may want to head on over to the hospital. Especially when you have contractions every 4 minutes that last up to 60 seconds. From this point on your body will dilate about 1cm per hour. 

What to expect during this phase:


  • This stage can last 5-24 hours
  • Your cervix will move from 4cm to 7cm
  • Contractions will last about a minute and be 5-7 minutes apart
  • Contractions will feel stronger and longer 
  • You will need to head to the hospital at this point 


The third part of stage one is the transition stage when you dilate all the way to 10cm.  This is definitely the most painful part of labor. 

Your contractions will come quickly and last for as long as a minute and a half. Once you are to 10cm, you’ll move on to the second stage of labor. 


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What to expect during this phase:


  • This phase can last 5-8 hours as well depending on many factors but usually goes quicker
  • You will go from 7cm to fully dilated
  •  Your contractions can last up to 90 seconds and only be 30 seconds to 2 minutes apart giving you little rest in between
  • This phase is the hardest but shortest and you’ll have your baby during this time 


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2nd Stage Of Labor


The 2nd stage of labor is the time when you’re fully dilated and your baby begins moving down the birth canal.

You’ll have very intense contractions that help move the baby down further and the pressure inside your body will be immense. 

You may feel the urge to push soon and it feels similar to the urge to push when you have a bowel movement. 

The length of the 2nd stage of labor varies from person to person but for new mamas who have never had a baby the time can be long. It took me three and a half hours to push my first babe out. Whew, it was hard work. 


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But the second and third were a breeze. 

The length can vary by what position you are in and by the size of your baby as well. 

Your doc will want you to push when you have a contraction and rest when your body relaxes. You may become vocal or grunt during the height of the contractions because it is very painful, as you know. 

Once your baby is all the way down you’ll be ready to push him completely out.

You will likely experience the ring of fire unless you’ve had the Epidural, in which case you’ll feel nothing. 

After he is born you’ll move into the third stage of labor. 


The Third Stage Of Labor 


Congrats your baby has been born. But there’s more to do. 

You will continue to have contractions because the placenta has to be birthed as well.

Often times a nurse will massage your contracting abdomen to help the placenta detach and come down quickly.

This is not fun and it does hurt. The nurse was pretty brutal with my already tender body each time. 

But it ends quickly and the placenta is usually birthed within 5 to 20 minutes. 

Then you move on to the Fourth Stage of Labor. 


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The Fourth Stage Of Labor


You’ve probably heard that there are three stages to labor but there are indeed fourth stages. 

This stage is the two or three hours after birth when the tone of the uterus is reestablished as the uterus contracts again, expelling any remaining birthing materials.

These contractions are hastened by breastfeeding, which stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin. This hormone works to tighten everything back up and put it back in its rightful place. 

It’s a great idea to begin breastfeeding right away once your baby is born to speed up this process.

If you want to learn more about breastfeeding I recommend taking this course right here. It’s only $19 and you’ll be a breastfeeding pro afterward. 

So those are the 4 stages of labor. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? But it’s well worth the effort, knowing you’ll soon meet your new best friend. 

The best of luck to you mama. 


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4 stages of childbirth #stagesofchildbirth #childbirth #pregnancy #stagesoflabor


4 stages of childbirth #stagesofchildbirth #childbirth #pregnancy #stagesoflabor


4 stages of childbirth #stagesofchildbirth #childbirth #pregnancy #stagesoflabor


4 stages of childbirth #stagesofchildbirth #childbirth #pregnancy #stagesoflabor

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