What Is Labour?

What is labor?

How to have a positive experience

As your pregnancy progresses, you will likely hear much about labor and delivery. But what is labor, exactly? The Labour process is what takes place when the baby decides to be born. It is a natural process that starts with the baby's head crowning and ends with the baby being wholly delivered. Labour is different for every woman. In this, some might experience strong contractions from the beginning, while others might not have any later. 

Stages of Labour

The stages are usually broken down into three phases, they are: 

  1. The first phase, which is the longest, is called early labor. This is when your cervix dilates and effaces (thin out). You might experience contractions that are five to 20 minutes apart and last around 45 seconds. 

  2. The second phase is active labor, when your cervix dilates from 7cm to 10cm. Contractions are stronger and more regular at this stage and can last up to 60 seconds. 

  3. The third and final stage of labor is called the pushing stage when you push your baby out. Contractions are extreme and close together and can last up to two minutes.

Pain Management in Labour 

The most common form of pain relief is epidural analgesia when anesthesia medication is injected into your back to reduce the pain associated with contractions. You may also be able to use nitrous oxide to help manage pain during labor, as well as non-medicinal methods such as massage, breathing exercises, and hot/cold therapy. 


Just like everything else in life, labor is unpredictable. Remember to focus on your breathing, stay positive, and let your partner or labor support person know if there's anything they can do to help. And most importantly, enjoy the process you're about becoming a mom!


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