The stages of labour
Every women’s labour and delivery is going to be completely different. And one of the most frequently googled questions is “how long will my labour last”.
Unfortunately, the straight answer to that is know one really knows. I mean, how long is a piece of string?
What is labour?
Labour is a series of continuos and progressive contractions of the uterus which helps your cervix to open and to think. This allows the baby to move through the birth canal.
When dose labour start?
Again, know one can say for sure, but it’s usually anywhere from between 2 weeks before your due date to 2 weeks after.
What are the 3 stages of labour?
For a typical natural delivery your labour can be broken into 3 stages.
You will begin with the onset of labour when you start to feel contractions.
You are in the latent stage when your contractions are anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes apart. You may notice at this point that the contractions begin to become stronger. This stage can be the longest part of your labour and your contractions may come and go for a few days prior to active labour.
You should call your midwife when your contraction are 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute at a time and have been continues for at least one hour.
If at any point you are worried about how you are progressing, please call your midwife.
You are classed as in the active stage of labour when your contraction become regular, longer and are more intense. Again, active labour varies from woman to woman but for a first time mum it can be around 5 hours. However is perfectly normal to last a good 10 hours or more.
Welcome to the pushing stage. Its a funny thing to say to someone who has never gone through birth before, but you WILL know when you are ready to push.
In this stage you are actively pushing your baby down the birth canal so they can finally be born. Thankfully this is usually shorter than the first stage, and for a first time mum it can take anywhere between half an hour to 3 hours.
This is the stage where you need to deliver the placenta (this is the organ that have fed your baby while they are in the womb).
You will have your baby in your arms at this stage and have just a little more work to do to deliver the placenta. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. This involves you pushing it out through the vagina just like you did when you pushed your baby out.
Your midwife can give you an injection to help speed up the process.
After the baby is delivered, the mother enters the third and last of the stages of labor — the delivery of the placenta (the organ that has nourished the baby inside of the uterus). This stage usually lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a half-hour and involves the mother pushing the placenta out of the uterus and through the vagina.