4 stages of labour- Stage 1: Full dilatation of the cervix (10 cm). Stage 2: Delivery of the baby. Stage 3: Expulsion of the placenta. Stage 4: Observation.
Understanding the events of labour can help you know what is happening during your childbirth.
Events of labour are divided into four stages.
First stage of labour
The first stage, also known as the cervical stage and usually starts from the onset of true labour pain and ends with full dilatation of the cervix. During this stage, the cervix starts to soften and opens about 10 cm at the end of the first stage.
The average duration of the first stage of labour is 12 hours in primigravida (first-time mother) and 6 hours in multipara (2nd or 3rd-time mother). The first stage is divided into two phases-
- Latent phase, also known as the pre-labour phase during which the cervix opens around 3-4 cm. During this phase, uterine contractions are irregular and 5 to 30 minutes apart; the duration of each contraction is 10-30 seconds.
- Active phase, also known as the dilatation phase and begins with 4 cm of dilatation to complete dilatation of the cervix about 10 cm. Moderate to strong uterine contractions every 2 to 5 minutes with 30-90 seconds duration.
Second stage of labour
It starts with full dilatation of the cervix and ends with the expulsion of the baby from the birth canal. The intensity and frequency of the uterine contraction increase to expel the baby out of the birth canal. It also has two phases-
- Propulsive phase- During this phase, the descent of the presenting part of the baby to the pelvic floor occurs.
- Expulsive phase– In this phase, the mother pushes downward (bearing-down efforts) and ends with the delivery of the baby.
The duration of the second stage of labour in primigravida is 1 to 2 hours and in multipara is 30 minutes.
Strong uterine contractions occur every 2 to 3 minutes with 45 to 90 seconds duration.
Third stage of labour
This stage is also known as the placental stage, begins after the delivery of the baby and ends with the expulsion of the placenta and membranes (after births).
The average duration is about 15 minutes in both primigravida and multipara but the duration can be reduced to 5 minutes in active management of the labour.
Fourth stage of labour
The fourth stage is also known as the observation stage. After the delivery of the baby and expulsion of the placenta and after births, the mother should be observed for at least 1 hour.
During this period, general condition of the mother and behaviour of the uterus is to be carefully watched.
The total duration of labour is 13 to 15 hours in primigravida and 6 to 8 hours in multipara.
In the above post, we have discussed the 4 stages of labour. The total duration of the four stages of labour is 13 to 15 hours in primigravidae and 6 to 8 hours in multipara. Knowing events of labour helps you to know what is happening during childbirth.