Understanding and managing the stages of labour

Labor is divided into three stages aptly named 1st , 2nd and 3rd stage.

1st stage is when the baby moves down through the pelvis and the cervix dilates.

2nd stage is sometimes known as the expulsive stage, when the baby moves from inside to outside of the body.

3rd stage involves the delivery of the placenta and membranes.

Second and third stages are very easy to identify because the events are very obvious. It can be a little more tricky to identify when you are in first stage. The most obvious sign is the contractions which show that the cervix is starting to thin and become wider. This is known as dilation.

Some women experience practice contractions or ‘false labor’ days before or even weeks before the actual labor begins. This is often referred to as false labour because the contractions aren’t actually dilating the cervix but the uterus is preparing the body for labor. This is also more appropriately known as ‘pre-labour’ because it is your body preparing you for active labour, there is nothing ‘false’ about it.