Active Labor

2 min read

Written by Pradeep


Stages of LaborActive labor is that stage of labor when the actual process of childbirth begins. The painful intense uterine contractions set in and the cervical opening dilates to about 10 cms. The stage of active labor commences when cervix is 3-4 cm dilated and lasts till the cervix becomes fully dilated and effaced.

The contractions become longer, stronger and come at shorter regular intervals. The mother might feel cramps in legs and even experience nausea.

Your back is painful and you feel like massaging your lower back. There could be a deep feeling of water bag bursting which eventually bursts due to increasing pressure, known as water breaking. By this time you should have reached the hospital of the birth centre, if you haven’t then without much delay, go there immediately. The pain will intensify and you are the only judge how much you can bear. Trust your instincts and decide when you require pain relief.

Active labor usually lasts between 4-5 hours. The stage is longer for first-time mothers and relatively short for moms who’ve had past vaginal deliveries.

Your caregiver and delivery team is of tremendous help while you are experiencing intense pain. Their encouragement helps you tackle the labor pains and their words keep you motivated throughout the painful period. You can try breathing exercise and relaxation techniques taught during childbirth classes. They will ease your discomfort and will enable you combat the labor pains.

In order to minimize labor discomfort you can try these:

  • Roll on rubber ball (birthing ball
  • Change positions
  • Walk a while and breathe during contractions
  • Get a gentle back massage during contractions
  • Take warm shower

When your contractions become intense, you will feel:

  • Excited or restless
  • Difficulty in standing up
  • Difficulty to drink and eat anything
  • The desire to change position
  • The need to take pain relief medicines

Transition phase is noted towards the end of the active labor. With the descent of baby the uterine contractions become intense and longer. The interval between contractions shortens.

Suddenly you might feel an urge to push down but your cervix is not fully dilated. The doctor will ask you to hold back and avoid pushing as it may cause the cervix to swell. This will retard the process of delivery. You can blow your way while getting intense uterine contractions.


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