Three Different Stages of Labor and Delivery

Three Main Stages of Labor and Delivery

What are the Main Stages of Labor and Delivery?

Labour is divided into three stages:

  • First stage: The womb contracts and the baby moves into the birth canal.
  • Second stage: The mother pushes with the contractions of the womb to help the baby through the birth canal and out.
  • Third Stage: The placenta is expelled.
Main stages of labor and delivery
Fig: Main stages of labor and delivery

All the three stages of labor and delivery have described in the below:

1. First Stage of Labour and Delivery:

The first signs are low-backache and irregular contractions. The contractions cause the baby’s head to be pressed down through the pelvis and against the inside of the cervix. This causes the cervix to stretch open allowing the baby’s head to pass through into the vagina and onwards into the outside world.

When this stage is reached, then the first stage of labour is completed and the second stage is about to begin. The first stage generally lasts up to 12 hours in a first labor and ten hours in subsequent deliveries, but each labour is different. First aid management of the first stage is simply reassurance for the mother and preparation for later stages.

You can read: Major Causes and Prevention of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in Bangladesh

2. Second Stage of Labour and Delivery:

The second stage starts when the cervix is completely open (10 cm dilated). The woman usually has the sensation of fullness in her vagina or bowel and wishes to push. Most women will find that the labour pains in the second stage of labor are more bearable, as they can now actively help themselves by pushing.

Support the mother in a comfortable position. Remove any constricting clothing or push it above her waist, protecting modesty at all times though the use of blankets or similar. The second stage of labor ends with the delivery of the baby. It usually lasts for 30 minutes to two hours in a first labour and 10 to 60 minutes in subsequent deliveries.

When the baby’s head reaches the outlet of the birth canal, the top of the head will first be seen during contractions but will then become visible all the time. Do not apply any pressure on the baby’s head to control descent; simply allow the head to slowly advance with each contraction. Check to see if the cord is around the baby’s neck – if it is, loop it over the head.

Wipe the baby’s nose and also any fluid out of the mouth. Hold the baby as it is born and lift it towards the mother’s abdomen. The baby will probably breathe and cry almost immediately. Quickly and thoroughly dry the baby using a warm towel ensuring that the head, trunk, axilla and groin are dry. This will remove the amniotic fluid and encourage the baby to breathe. Remove the wet towel and wrap in a toweling baby robe or similar and another blanket.

When covered, place the baby with its mother in a position where the mother can feed if she wants to and help keep the baby warm. The action of breast feeding will also encourage delivery of the placenta and reduce bleeding.

3. Third Stage of Labour and Delivery:

The placenta or afterbirth is expelled by the womb in a period of a few minutes to several hours after the baby is born. No attempt should be made to pull it out using the cord as this could rupture the cord, making delivery of the placenta difficult and causing excessive bleeding.

The placenta should be delivered into a bowl or plastic bag and ensure the placenta, blood and membrane are kept for the midwife to inspect: Immediately following the afterbirth, there may be additional bleeding (normally less than 300mls) and a few blood clots.

If bleeding continues after the delivery of the placenta, palpate the abdomen and feel for the top of the uterus. The womb should feel like a firm mass just below the mother’s navel. If it is soft, the baby should be encouraged to feed and uterus massaged with a circular motion to encourage womb contraction and reduce the bleeding. Monitor the mother and treat for shock if necessary.

Stay with the mother until relieved by a midwife or other health care professional. Almost all emergency births are normal. The babies typically thrive and the mothers recover quickly. It is very important when assisting with an emergency delivery that you continually reassure the mother and attempt to keep her calm.

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