Labor: what it is, how it starts and the signs

Source: Shutterstock

In this article

  • Labor - what is it?
  • Prodromic phase
  • dilatant phase
  • Expulsive phase
  • Final phase

Labor - what is it?

Labor is the final moment of pregnancy that opens with the prodromal phase of childbirth, that is the period in which the maternal body prepares for the expulsion of the fetus and the placenta through a series of painful uterine contractions, and ends with the birth of the child.

Read also: the dictionary of pregnancy

Prodromic phase

Normally, labor begins when regular and painful uterine contractions - le labor pains - coexist with at least one of the following signs: genital discharge of mucus or mucus mixed with low amounts of blood, initials changes in the uterine neck, occurred rupture of the amniochorial membranes (the so-called "breaking of the waters").

This moment can last a few hours or even extend for a few days and ends when the contractions become even more regular and intense.

dilatant phase

When contractions occur more or less every five minutes and they last about a minute, you enter the heart of labor. At this stage, also called "active" in fact, each contraction contributes to dilating the cervix (phase dilatant) to prepare for the baby's exit. Normally the cervix should dilate about 1,2 cm every hour, but there are not rare cases where the process takes longer. Lack of progression in dilation may indicate a dystocia (fetopelvic disproportion).

The standing position and the walking movement could facilitate and speed up the operation.

The final moment of this moment usually coincides with the spontaneous rupture of the amniotic membranes, but sometimes this can occur even before the total dilation, which comes to measure approximately 10 cm.

If the rupture of the amniotic membranes does not occur naturally, it can be induced through surgery (amniorexes).

Expulsive phase

If necessary, the expulsion phase is preceded by an interval in which the mother is allowed to rest before the final effort (latency phase), after which the operation that will lead the child to see the light begins.

In the case of a natural birth, the mother must encourage the process by pushing hard and regularly. In such a circumstance one proper breathing learned during the pre-birth course greatly favors the patient's task.

It is a very painful phase in which the application of perineal massages with lubricants or hot packs by the medical staff in the delivery room could reduce the risk of lacerations.

Usually the expulsion lasts about an hour, but this parameter is very variable and in case of recourse to theepidural anesthesia - which delays the push - the times can be extended by another hour.

Final phase

Labor ends definitively with the birth of the baby excision of the umbilical cord (clamping) el 'delivery of the placenta, which usually occurs 20-30 minutes after the baby leaves the mother's body.


Questions and answers

How long can labor last?

There is no fixed parameter. It can last a few hours or even two days.

How do you know when labor begins?

Labor begins with labor, followed by loss of mucus, changes in the uterine neck and, finally, the so-called breaking of the water

How is labor facilitated?

During the dilating phase, the standing position and walking speed up the process. In the expulsion phase, however, correct breathing is essential.

  • labor
  • pre-labor contractions
  • labor before childbirth
  • dictionary of pregnancy
add a comment of Labor: what it is, how it starts and the signs
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.