What are the stages of labor? thanks for your help.
Jan 31, '05
stage 1: three parts: latent (beginning) - the cervix is slowing effacing and dilating until it reaches 3-4 centimeters. active (middle) - the cervix dilates to about 7 centimeters. transition (end) - final stretching of the cervix over the baby's head as the baby moves down into the birth canal. (8-10 centimeters)
stage 2: passive stage -- the baby is descending and getting aligned for birth, and contractions may temporarily slow down. expulsive stage -- starts with a strong urge to push and ends with the birth of the baby. (mothers with epi's may not be as aware of the urge).
stage 3: contractions following birth until the expulsion of the placenta.
stage 4: recovery -- the 24-36 hours following birth as the uterus contracts and shrinks and the mother stabilizes.
(these divisions are somewhat arbitrary, and are mostly based on the "friedman curve" from 50 years ago. hopefully, in the future, we'll have more accurate and complex theories for describing the process of birth and recovery that honor the uniqueness of each woman's needs and body, rather than trying to make her fit into our concepts of how it's supposed to "divide up" on paper. agree?)
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Last edit by Ted on Feb 1, '05