The first stage of labour – when things start happening – can be daunting. Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C. (2013) Continuous support for women during childbirth. To give you the best experience, BabyCentre’s website and emails use cookies and similar tracking systems to personalise the content and ads we provide to you. You may wish to come to hospital as you move through the active phase. It’s absolutely fine, of course, if you do change your mind but if you do want to still avoid pain relief, it is possible to use self-help methods like hypnobirthing instead. This helps us to know whether your labour is progressing normally, to recognise any problems early and for clear communication. When your cervix has dilated to … When your cervix has dilated to about 4cm, you’re in ‘established labour’ (NICE, 2017). Generally, this stage is the longest and the least painful part of labour. Throughout the first stage of labour, careful monitoring and recording of your wellbeing, your baby’s wellbeing, and the progress of your labour, is important. Phase 1: early (latent) labor. Lawrence A, Lewis L, Hofmeyr GJ, Dowswell T, Styles C. (2013) Maternal position and mobility during first stage labour. In the very early stages of labour, your cervix softens and becomes quite thin.

This may occur over days or hours and be accompanied by mild contractions. Phase 1: Early labor These contractions will help to push your baby down and your cervix to open (dilate) so that your baby can come into the world.

So before you head off anywhere, give them a call. What happens in the first stage of labour? Keep yourself relaxed as possible and look after your needs. Pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore, Breastfeeding: the trick to a comfy latch. The cervix dilates from four–six to eight centimetres. Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018].

Stages of labour First stage of labour. Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. Getting you those crucial energy-boosting drinks and snacks. These contractions can become more intense, painful and frequent. All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources.

Our animated video has the answers. Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. Terms of Service apply. NICE. (2018) Stages of labour. state election. It might help to dim the lights or play some music. The first stage of labor and birth occurs when you begin to feel regular contractions, which cause the cervix to open (dilate) and soften, shorten and thin (effacement). Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700. (2018) Pregnancy and signs of labor. This stage begins when the cervix starts to soften and to open.

To update your permissions, contact us on 0300 330 0700 or email Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. Support her in any decisions she makes about pain relief. I agree to NCT contacting me in the following ways: By submitting this form you are agreeing to our website's general Terms and Conditions of use.

We create our articles with NCT antenatal teachers, postnatal leaders and breastfeeding counsellors, as well as academics and representatives from relevant organisations and charities. Possibly conduct a vaginal examination and record your pulse, blood pressure and temperature. Slow swaying movements may also help during contractions. This stage can last several minutes to several days!

For general enquiries, feedback, complaints and compliments: Help us improve the content on our website or tell us what is working really well. (2017) Signs that labour has begun. Latent phase . Active labour, when you have powerful, regular contractions, and your cervix opens more fully. Sometimes humour can lighten the atmosphere when appropriate. How will I know my body's gearing up for labour? placing a covered hot water bottle, or warmed wheat bag on your tummy, back, groin or perineum, Listen to your body and trust your instincts, Have someone you trust stay with you and support you, whether this is your partner, friend or relative, or a paid, Eat and drink as your appetite demands, provided you haven't had medical pain relief, such as opioids, Balance this with rest and sleep in early labour, Consider using hypnobirthing techniques, such as deep relaxation, If you need something stronger, ask your midwife for, If your labour slows down, follow our tips for. Read more about our editorial review process. The first stage of labour is made up of three different phases and involves the thinning of the cervix and its dilation to around 10 centimetres. The first stage of labour was shortened in the hypnosis group [...] by 98 minutes for first time mothers and by 40 minutes for second time mothers.

At the start of labour, your cervix starts to soften so it can open. Choose positions of comfort; you might find that your body instinctively moves to certain positions during contractions. The cervix thins out and dilates from zero up to four–six centimetres.

Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. Thankfully, it's also the least intense by far. Speaking to midwives or doctors if you’re not able to. "The first stage of labour is made up of contractions that will get longer, stronger and more frequent." We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth and life with a new baby.

Use tab and cursor keys to move around the page (more information), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Children's health, parenting and pregnancy, Queensland Clinical Guidelines parent information – Early labour, Pregnancy, Birth and Baby – Giving birth - first stage of labour, COVID-19 information for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Try the following if you can: When your contractions start coming every five minutes and last at least 60 seconds, give your midwife a call (NHS Choices, 2017). If it’s not, it’s more likely to be around five to 12 hours (NICE, 2017). Unlike Braxton Hicks, they don’t go away when you change your position or relax. Ah, the big question. First stage is complete when the cervix has opened to around 10 centimetres. So the way your friend describes hers may be a world away from your own experience. (2013) Counselling for maternal and newborn health care: a handbook for building skills. Active labour, when you have powerful, regular contractions, and your cervix opens more fully. During this early stage you may feel nothing at all for some time. It may feel as though the contractions are no longer separate but running into each other.

Some easily digested foods include fruits, yogurt or toast. Ideally, you will experience the latent phase in the comfort of your home. It can take many hours, or even days, before you're in established labour.

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the, (NHS 2017, O'Driscoll et al 2004 cited Becher et al 2009), (Capogna et al 2010, NCCWCH 2014, NHS 2017), (Jackson et al 2014, Simkin and Ancheta 2011), (Jackson et al 2014, NHS 2017, Simkin and Ancheta 2011), (Santana et al 2016, Shahoei R et al 2017), (Simkin and Klein 2019, Taavoni et al 2016), (Ehsanipoor and Satin 2019, Jackson et al 2014, Simkin and Ancheta 2011), (Bohren et al 2017, Simkin and Klein 2019), (Cluett et al 2018, NCCWCH 2014, RCM 2012). Your midwife will know how far on you are and whether you need to be in hospital or at your birthing centre yet. Supporting you while you try different positions.

Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. 1997-2020 All rights reserved. The cervix thins out and dilates from zero up to four–six centimetres. Cochrance Database Syst Rev.(8):CD003934. If you want to give birth without pain relief, this might also be the part when you find it the trickiest to stick to your plan. Your midwife will then ask questions and assess you based on your: Call your midwife or a doctor straight away if: In the early part of labour, you’re likely to be at home. RCM. All contents copyright © BabyCenter, L.L.C. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google WHO. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.(7):CD003766. (NICE, 2017). Remember – an empty bladder is more comfortable and gives your baby more space to move down. Your contractions at this stage may not be … However, as labour progresses, they tend to get longer, stronger and closer together, as your cervix is beginning to open and widen to around 4cm. Available from: [Accessed 3rd August 2018]. Trouble is, contractions can feel completely different from woman to woman and even in different pregnancies. We'll only contact you in the ways you want, and we'll keep your data safe. So (no pressure), choose carefully…. This page was last reviewed in August 2018. As labour can be a long, complex process, it’s handily referred to as happening in three stages (NICE, 2017). The contractions you’ll experience during established labour are different from the Braxton Hicks contractions (false contractions) that you probably felt while you were pregnant. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus and we are still learning how it may affect you and your baby. Calling us costs the same as any local call, however, if you have free 'inclusive' minutes on a landline or mobile, it will be included in those. Labor is in turn broken down into three phases: early, active and transitional. The first of the three stages of labor, called the latent phase, is usually the longes.

Helping you with relaxation and breathing techniques.

In early labour you may have: 1. a blood-stained mucus discharge called a ‘sh… The transitional phase, when your contractions reach full intensity, your cervix is fully open, and you may feel the urge to push your baby out.

The cervix dilates from eight to 10 centimetres (that is, fully dilated). The first stage of labour consists of: Early labour, when your cervix starts to widen and open.

This can go on for hours; days even. Ask you about the length, strength and how often your contractions are coming.