Theparturition process entails several stages, which may take hours oreven days from the onset of labor to placenta delivery on a standardbirth. Under normal conditions, a woman gives birth after 9 months ofpregnancy. This essay focuses on the stages of labor which aretypically divided into three phases.

1.Early Labor (Latent)

Itis the first stage of labor and is usually the longest but leastintense compared to the other two labor phases and may last for twoto three days. It can be identified by mild to moderate contractionsthat may last for 30 to 45 minutes and can be experienced regularlyor irregularly (Davidson,2015). During this phase, the following labor signs maybe experienced

  • Indigestion

  • A sensation of warmth in the abdomen

  • Backache

  • Blood-tinged mucous discharge

  • Menstrual-like cramps

•Cervix opens up to about 3 cm, but first-time mothers can takemany hours without cervix dilating.

Throughoutthis period, expectant mother will also experience excitement,relief, anxiety or even fear. On arrival of these changes, it becomesnecessary for the pregnant woman to get some sleep, and take on alight snack if hungry, alert the birth partner as well as to avoidanything acidic or fatty foods. It is possible to identify a womanwho is in her early labor phase through observing the unique changesthat occurs during this pregnancy stage.

2.Active Labor

Itis the second phase of labor and may last for about two to threehours. Compared to early labor, contraction in this period isfrequent and intense and it last for about 50 to 70 seconds (Roberts,2013). The stage is associated with the following

  • Membrane Rupture

  • Dilation of the cervix to 7cm

  • Increased bloody show

  • An increasing contractions, backache, pain and discomfort

  • Fatigue

Thereis no opportunity to rest during this phase due to intensecontractions which is associated with it. Therefore, it is importantto ask for help and use techniques for relaxation such as to remainhydrated to keeping the mouth moist and replace lost fluid especiallyin cases of unmedicated birth.

3.Transitional Labor

Thisis the most intense and challenging phase of labor despite being theshortest of the three phases. The contractions are stronger andlonger leading to maximum dilation of the cervix. Contractions canlast for about 90 to 120 seconds with breaks of a minute or two inbetween (Davidson,2015). In general, this phase may take between 30minutes to an hour for a mother who had delivered normally inprevious births or up to 3 hours for a woman who is in her first-timelabor. Time distortion can be experienced making it hard to rememberclearly things which happened during labor (Roberts,2013). Under normal conditions, the expectant mayexperience the following

•Drowsiness between contractions

• Increased bloody show

•Intense pressure in lower abdomen

•Uncontrollably tremble and cramp legs

•Exhaustion or Fatigue

Thephase is normally physically demanding and time draining and may leadto frustrations, disorientation or impatient. It is important tocontinue with the breathing technique, speak up if uncomfortable aswell relax in between contractions with deep, slow, and rhythmicbreaths.

In conclusion, having enough knowledge on the three phases oflabor can eliminate the anxiety of giving birth hence preparingexpectant mother fully to handle each stage as it comes.


Davidson,M. C., London, M. L., &amp Ladewig, P. W. (2015).&nbspOlds`maternal-newborn nursing &amp women`s health across the lifespan.Pearson.

Roberts,J. E. (2013). A new understanding of the second stage of labor:Implications for nursing care.&nbspJournalof Obstetric, Gynecologic, &amp Neonatal Nursing,&nbsp32(6),794-801.