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What to Expect During the Various Stages of Childbirth?

Around 92% of deliveries in India happen in hospitals. Hence, at least 9 out of every 10 expectant mothers avail of healthcare facilities to ensure having safe childbirth. If you’re also expecting, consult the best gynecologist in South Delhi to prepare mentally and physically for the approaching childbirth. Here is everything about the expectations related to the different stages of childbirth.

Stage 1: Cervical Dilation and Effacement

Your cervix dilates (opens) and effaces (stretches/thins) letting your baby slip into the birth canal. The three sub-stages are:

Early (latent) phase

When the time of labor is close, look up the best hospital for delivering a baby. During the latent phase, your cervix dilates from 0cm up to 6cm.


Early labor usually goes on for 6-10 hours if this is your first childbirth else lasts for 2-5 hours.


  • Irregular and mild contractions, initially about 20 minutes apart and later 5 minutes apart, and each lasting for 30-60 seconds
  • Some abdominal discomfort
  • Pinkish discharge

What to do?

As you begin to experience mild contractions, spaced around 5 minutes apart, move to the hospital right away.

Active phase 

Now your cervix dilates from 6cm up to 10cm. If an emergency C-section is needed for specific circumstances, it’s recommended 



This phase usually lasts for 4-8 hours or more.


  • Intensified steady contractions, 3-5 minutes apart and each lasting for 60 seconds
  • Pains in your lower back, thighs, or abdomen
  • Brownish/pinkish discharge
  • Water-breaking or rupturing of your amniotic sac (if it hasn’t happened already)
  • Cramping of legs
  • Nausea

What to do?

If you haven’t moved to a hospital, do it now quickly. Ask for anesthesia or pain medication if needed. If you can’t leave your bed, try changing your position every 30 minutes. Else, try to march in place. This helps your cervix dilate more and encourages your baby to turn into the birth position. Receive a light massage between contractions.

Transition phase

The dilation of your cervix completes in this phase. Hence, it’s the most painful part.


This phase lasts from 15 minutes up to 2 hours.


  • More intense contractions, lasting up to 90 seconds and about 2 minutes apart
  • Urge to push the baby (but wait for the practitioner’s signal)
  • Rectal and pelvic pressure
  • Chills and/or hot flashes
  • Feeling overwhelmed

What to do?

You can ask for the anesthesia if you already haven’t. Imagine a relaxing place and feel safe. Breathe deeply.

Stage 2: Pushing and Birth

You push the baby out through your birth canal.


It can last from a few minutes up to a couple of hours or more.


  • Intense pain around the perineal and vaginal areas

What to do?

Bear down, find the best position and focus on pushing where it’s useful. Listen to the practitioner.

Stage 3: Delivering the Placenta 

This is when your placenta (afterbirth) is delivered.


You’ll deliver the placenta in 5-30 minutes but the whole phase may last longer than 60 minutes.


  • Continued contractions of your uterus to help it resume its original size

What to do?

Relax. Afterward, you can hold your baby.

Once prepared for your upcoming childbirth, discuss with the best gynecologist in South Delhi, the pros and cons of different delivery methods.

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