Natural birth can be divided into three stages namely the First, Second and Third Stages First Stage – Dilation and Effacement of the Cervix (Having Three Phases-Early, Active and Transition)
Second Stage—Pushing and Birth
Third Stage—Delivery of Placenta
FIRST STAGE—DILATION AND EFFACEMENT OF CERVIX (Three Phases)
Early Phase — Cervix dilates from zero to three or four centimetres and this is the first step in the journey towards childbirth. For a first-time mother, it can be much shorter or much longer. One may experience the beginnings of labour which may be subtle or dramatic – and it happens differently in every woman. In some women, the cervix dilates and real contractions (or labour) begin. Contractions can be mild and somewhat irregular. A short, leisurely walk might even help speed the labour along.
Active Phase — Cervix dilates from four to seven centimetres when most women begin to labour more intensely. Contractions usually come steadily, gradually increasing in intensity and frequency, from three to five minutes apart. Pains may be centred in the lower back or abdomen and there can be pinkish or brownish discharge. One should empty their bladder and practice breathing or relaxation techniques.
Transition phase — Cervix dilates to eight to ten centimetres. Contractions during this phase are usually intense as the baby’s head moves down toward the vaginal opening.
SECOND STAGE PUSHING AND BIRTH
It begins when the cervix is fully dilated. It may last anywhere from a few minutes to two hours. As one begins pushing, one may become increasingly breathless and fatigued as the baby’s head protrudes outside the vaginal opening. You may be asked to push more gently or slowly as the rest of your baby’s head and body emerge. Finally, with one last push, your baby is out in the world !
THIRD STAGE—DELIVERY OF PLACENTA
This usually takes anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour and one may experience cramping and pain as this process takes place.
As the third stage ends and the drama of childbirth comes to an end, one feels an overwhelming sense of fatigue. But the joy of holding your baby will make you forget the pangs of child birth!