Mechanism of Labor: How Your Body Works During Childbirth

The mechanism of labor is the sequence of actions that occur on the head during childbirth as it undergoes adaptation in the pelvis. It is a complex process.

When you are pregnant, your body goes through many changes to prepare for childbirth. The process of labor and delivery is a complex one, and it is important to understand how your body works during this time. In this blog post, we will discuss the mechanism of labor and what happens during childbirth. We will also explore the various stages of labor, as well as some common complications that can occur.

What is the mechanism of labor?

The mechanism of labor is the sequence of actions that occur on the head during childbirth as it undergoes adaptation in the pelvis.

It is the process by which your body starts and progresses through childbirth. It is a complex process that involves many different systems of your body, including the nervous system, endocrine system, and musculoskeletal system.

The mechanism of labor begins with contractions of the uterus. The contractions help to open the cervix, or neck of the womb, so that the baby can pass through the birth canal. The contractions also help to push the baby down the birth canal and into the world.

Steps of the mechanism of labor

The steps of the mechanism of labor are as follows:


The widest diameter of the fetal head enters the maternal pelvis. This usually happens in the later stages of labor.


This is when the fetal head moves down the birth canal. It is a continuous process and completes the delivery of the fetus. This happens with each contraction of the uterus and bearing down efforts.


This is when the baby’s head bends down so that the chin is touching the chest. This happens because of resistance from the mother’s pelvic bones. This helps the head to fit through the pelvis more easily.

Internal Rotation:

Internal rotation of the head occurs by 2/8th or 1/8th of a circle, based on the position of the fetus and placing the occiput behind the symphysis pubis.


Crowning is when the baby’s head begins to emerge from the mother’s vagina. The head is now visible to those present at birth.


Delivery of the head takes place by extension. This is when the baby’s head starts to come out of the birth canal. The head begins to straighten out and rotate so that the baby’s body can be delivered.


After the head is delivered, it rotates by another quarter or half of a circle to return to its original position. This helps the shoulders to align with the pelvis so that they can be delivered more easily.

External Rotation:

After restitution, external rotation takes place. This is when the shoulders rotate so that they are facing the mother’s pubic bone. This helps to deliver the baby’s body more easily.

Delivery of the shoulders and trunk:

After the head and shoulders are delivered, the rest of the baby’s body is born. This happens with a final push from the mother.

After the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut, and the placenta is delivered.

What are the stages of labor?

The process of labor is divided into three stages: the first stage, the second stage, and the third stage.

  • The first stage of labor is the longest and is divided into three phases: early labor, active labor, and transition. In this stage, dilatation and taking up of the cervix occur.
  • The second stage of labor is when the baby is born.
  • The third stage of labor is when the placenta is delivered.

What are some common complications during childbirth?

Childbirth is a natural process, but some complications can occur. Some of these complications include:

  • Uterine rupture: This is a rare but serious complication that can occur during labor. It happens when the uterus tears along the line of a previous cesarean section scar. This can cause serious bleeding and put both the mother and baby at risk.
  • Placental abruption: This happens when the placenta starts to separate from the uterus before the baby is born. This can cause bleeding.
  • Preeclampsia: This is a condition that can occur during pregnancy or after delivery. It is characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
  • Fetal distress: This is when the baby is not getting enough oxygen during labor. This can happen for many reasons, such as if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck.
  • Obstructed labor: This happens when the baby is too large to fit through the pelvis or if the baby is in a breech position. This can cause the labor to slow down or stop.
  • Shoulder dystocia: This is when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. This can cause the baby to be born breech (bottom first).

These are just a few of the many possible complications that can occur during labor and delivery. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.

What are some signs that labor is starting?

There are a few signs that labor is starting:

  • Lightening: This is when the baby drops lower into the pelvis. This happens a few weeks before labor in first-time mothers and a few hours before labor in experienced mothers.
  • Contractions: These are regular, strong, and often painful contractions of the uterus that help to push the baby down into the pelvis.
  • Water breaking: This is when the membranes of the amniotic sac rupture and the amniotic fluid leaks out. This can happen a few hours or days before labor begins.

If you think you may be in labor, it is important to contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you determine if labor is truly starting or if it is a false alarm.

What are some things you can do to prepare for labor?

There are a few things you can do to prepare for labor:

  • Take a childbirth class: This can help you learn about the process of labor and what to expect.
  • Create a birth plan: This can help you and your healthcare provider know your preferences for labor and delivery.
  • Pack a bag for the hospital: This should include items for you and your babies, such as clothes, diapers, wipes, and formula.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider: This is a good time to ask any questions you may have about labor and delivery.

By preparing for labor, you can help make the process go more smoothly.

What are some things you can do during labor?

There are a few things you can do during labor:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, such as water or juice.
  • Eat light meals: Stick to easy-to-digest foods, such as toast or crackers.
  • Rest when you can: Take breaks between contractions to rest and relax.
  • Change positions: Try different positions to help with discomfort and pain.
  • Breathe deeply: This can help you relax and cope with the pain of contractions.
  • Focus on your breathing: This can help you stay calm and relaxed during labor.
  • Walk: Walking can help to speed up labor.

By following these tips, you can help make labor a little bit easier.

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