Shaheen Shaikh
by on February 26, 2021

Every woman undergoes unique labour and delivery. You may have a vaginal birth or need a caesarean delivery. Either way, you need not worry if you are in safe hands. Timely admission in a reputed maternity hospital during your early labour can prevent possible complications and high-risk pregnancy. Here are the stages of labour involved in a normal delivery

First Stage: Early Labour and Active Labour

The first stage of your vaginal birth starts with regular contractions, causing cervical dilation (opening) and effacement (thinning). This lets your baby move into the birth canal. This is the longest stage and is divided into: 

Early labour: It causes cervical dilation and effacement with irregular, mild contractions. As the cervix starts opening, there can be a slightly bloody, pink, or clear vaginal discharge. It is usually your mucus plug blocking your cervical opening during pregnancy. 

The duration varies and is unpredictable. First-time mothers may need hours to days. It may be shorter for subsequent childbirths. 

Relaxation techniques can benefit you now. If your waterbag breaks or you experience vaginal bleeding, call the healthcare provider immediately.  

Active labour: During this phase, the cervix will dilate for 6-10cm. The contractions will become regular and stronger. You may experience nausea and your legs may cramp. You may feel your water breaking (unless broken already) with rising pressure in the back. Move to the closest labour and delivery facility now if you haven’t already done so. As the pain increases with progressing labour, you may request for anaesthesia or pain medications. 

Active labour generally needs four to eight hours. Every hour, the cervix dilates around 1cm. 

If you require a caesarean delivery, avoid eating before the surgery, as this can lead to complications. 

During the transition phase, contractions lasting 60-90 seconds are closer and more painful at your rectum and lower back with increasing heart rate. The healthcare provider may ask you to push if it’s time. It normally lasts 15-60 minutes. 

Second Stage: Childbirth

Pushing out your baby can require 30 minutes to a few hours. First-time mothers may need more time. With your cervix completely dilated, your baby’s head will move down your womb through your birth canal (vagina) to the outside world. Rarely, the assistance of vacuum extraction (ventouse) or forceps is needed. 

Sometimes, your baby requires to be delivered with induced labour for various reasons like a uterine infection or inadequate amniotic fluid. 

Third Stage: Delivering the Placenta

Your health care provider will guide you to deliver your placenta in either of the following ways: 

Physiological management: It involves waiting for the spontaneous placental delivery with your efforts. It may need up to an hour after delivery. The mother's first breastfeed is encouraged now. 

Active management: To quicken placental separation, a contracting drug (ecbolic) is injected into your leg while the baby’s shoulders emerge. Your womb will contract and remain so for reducing blood loss. 

Identify your specific stage of labour and if you experience active labour, visit the best maternity hospital in Delhi right away. 

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