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Understanding the Three Stages of Labor

If ever there was a device that could measure the anxiety levels of mothers-to-be, it would surely make record-breaking sales. Expectant mothers, especially first-time moms are unaware of the trying times ahead. The nine-month long wait is followed by labor and if you are pregnant, you would be wondering what exactly transpires during this critical time.

Labour consists of three stages. These are:

  1. The first stage is when your cervix or neck of the womb opens upto 10 cm dilated
  2. The second stage is when your baby is lowered and moves through the vagina and steps into the world.
  3. The third stage is when the placenta is delivered (also known as afterbirth)

First stage of Labour:

Your cervix is elongated and firm before labor begins. In the initial hours of labor, the uterus muscles begin contracting. This helps the cervix to soften and shorten thus facilitating easy dilation. In first time mums-to-be, this period can take 6 to 36 hours. You may experience contractions during this stage. These contractions can be mild, similar to menstrual pain or sharp and throbbing at times. The contractions will begin as irregular and short in nature and slowly grow five minutes apart and at least a minute in length. You will have a mucus-like discharge around this time. The “breaking of your water” occurs when the amniotic sac that surrounds your baby is ruptured.

Second Stage of Labour:

Now is the time to summon all your reserved energy as you will need a lot of it at this stage. This second and highly critical stage of labor starts when the cervix is completely open or dilated. At this stage, your baby’s head has moved out of the uterus and has entered the birth canal. You will need to have tremendous strength and determination at this time. You will need to have great focus on pushing the baby past the birth canal.

If you are lucky, you could pass through the second stage with 30 to 60 minutes. It could also be extended to more than an hour if you have an epidural anesthetic (Used to block pain in the pelvic area). You may need birth assistance in the form of forceps or vacuum extraction if your doctor feels so.

Third Stage of Labour:

The delivery of the placenta is the third stage of labor. This can be carried out in two ways.

  • In the first way of physiological management, you can wait for the spontaneous delivery through your own effort. You may have to wait for up to an hour for this to happen after the baby is born. Your doctor may encourage you to initiate your first breastfeeding session with the baby.
  • Active management is the second method where a contracting drug is injected into your leg as the baby’s shoulders begin to appear. This helps the placenta to separate while there is reduced blood loss since your uterus remains contracted.

Your pregnancy doctor will decide on the necessary approach to be taken after considering the manner in which your pregnancy has progressed. Your health will also be a factor your doctor will take into consideration while taking active decisions during the three stages of labour.

Being informed is the best way of preparing for labour and childbirth. Choose the best maternity in Gurgaon to make sure you have access to knowledgeable doctors and facilities designed to make labour and birth and easy process.

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