Labor is when your body prepares to have your baby. Signs of labor typically start before you get to the hospital and before you can be assisted by specially-trained nurses and physicians.
Labor has three stages. Your healthcare provider may talk about the progress of your labor with certain words. One of these is your baby’s position. Another is your baby’s station. The effacement and dilation of your cervix will be noted.
During the first stage of labor, contractions of the uterus help your cervix thin (efface). They also help it widen (dilate). This will help your baby pass through the birth canal (vagina). At first your contractions will not come that often or last that long. But as time passes, they will come faster and last longer. They will then be 2-5 minutes apart. They will last about 45-60 seconds each.
In the second stage of labor, you will have stronger contractions of the uterus. They may happen every 2-3 minutes. They may last from 60-90 seconds each. Your baby will move down the birth canal. Your doctor will ask you to push with each contraction. Try to rest between the contractions if you can. Your baby is delivered at the end of this stage of labor.
The third stage of labor comes after your baby is born. This is when the afterbirth (placenta) comes out of the uterus. Your uterus will continue to have contractions. But they are much milder than before.
Labor Has Probably Started If:
A woman has many options for managing the discomforts that occur during labor and the birth of her baby. Generally, mothers and their doctors or midwives want to use the safest and most effective method of pain relief for both mother and baby. The choice will be determined by:
Call your doctor or clinic right away if you notice any of these signs: