What to Expect: What are the Stages of Labour and Birth

EARLY LABOUR:

0cm - 3cm dialated

Usually the longest phase of labour - serveral hours

Shorter irregular surges as the cervix begins to soften and open


WHAT TO DO:

Sleep

Relax

Drink plenty of water

Eat to fuel your body

Have a bath

If your surges start at night try to stay comfortable and relaxed

If your surges start in the daytime, try to stay upright and

gently active to hep the cervix dilate

Practise your relaxations

Begin to use your UP/calm breathing when you feel you need to

Prepare your environment

Start timing surges as they become more regular


ESTABLISHED LABOUR

4cm - 10cm dilated

Approximately 8-12 hours for first pregnancies or 5 hours for second pregnancies (NHS)

The cervix is softening and opening to full dilation to

allow for your baby to pass down for birth

When you reach the end of the first stage you may feel the urge to push


WHAT TO DO

Drink plenty of water

Find a position that is comfortable for you

Contact your midwife when surges are 3 in 10 minutes

Try to keep gently moving and upright

Prepare your birthing environment

Use your UP/calm breathing during surges

Use relaxation techniques


TRANSITION

7cm - 10cm dilated

Contractions every 60-90 seconds

Surges are often strongest during this phase

You may notice a small spike in adrenaline


WHAT TO DO

Rely upon your birth partner and practise

Use your UP/calm breathing techniques

Positive Affirmations

Try changing positions, keeping upright, forward and open

Use a birth pool

Relaxation techniques

Remain calm - each surge brings your closer to your baby

Trust your instinct/intuition


SECOND STAGE OF LABOUR

10cm approximately

The cervix is fully dilated

Surges may space out a bit giving you the ability to relax or rest a little bit between bearing downwards

Push during surges whenever you feel the urge

First baby is usually no longer than 3 hours and subsequent babies

no longer than 2 hours (NHS)

Your babies head will be born with their body following

in the next 1 or 2 surges


WHAT TO DO

Communicate with your birth partner where necessary

Use relaxation techniques to remain calm

Positive Affirmations

Down breathing


THIRD STAGE OF LABOUR

Active or physiological management of the third stage of labour

Optimal cord clamping

Skin to Skin with your baby

Usually 5 - 30 minutes after your baby is born you will have another

surge and give birth to your placenta


WHAT TO DO

Enjoy your baby

Wait for the surge to birth your placenta (usually up to 30 minutes)

A midwife will ask to assess for any perineal tears

Note any special requests for your placenta

Vitamin K preferences for baby



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