Labor pains are among the top most items in the list of the most dreaded affairs for many women in all parts of the world. This is especially case for new mothers who have never actually experienced the pain and have only listened to recounted episodes of the same from those who have undergone childbirth.
Most of these episodes pain a very gruesome picture filled with intense pain and most women would simply prefer the experience to be brief and over within the shortest time possible.
Such women need to know about the stages of birth so that they can be able to monitor closely the progress of their labor and to approximate accurately how long it is likely to take.
Such knowledge is also important for their spouses since in spite of the fact that they are not as physically involved in the child birth process as the women, they are almost as emotionally involved and equally anxious to know the progress of the delivery.
The three stages of birth
The entire process of child birth can and is usually divided into three distinct stages. At each of these stages, there are a number of physical changes that are known to take place in the bodies of the expectant women anticipating delivery.
The 3 stages of childbirth begin right from the onset of the first signs of labor, and extend until the time when the placenta is eventually also delivered.
The first stage
In the first stage of child birth, the changes that take place in the body of the expectant mother include:
- Dilation or opening of the cervix
- Thinning of the cervix
The changes at this stage take place in the cervix in order to streamline the passage of the baby. These changes allow the baby to descend downwards.
The second stage
This is the stage that most people are familiar with. In fact, it is the stage which many people consider to be actual childbirth since out of all the 3 stages of birth; this is when the baby is finally actually born. The stage begins with the passage of the baby down the birth canal, to the time when the baby is completely out of its mother’s body.
The third stage
At this stage, the baby has already been pulled out of its mother’s body and what remains is the extraction of the placenta. It lasts until the time when the placenta has also been successfully delivered.
The duration and intensity of all the above stages of birth is not uniform. Every stage lasts for a varied length of time and may be shorter or protracted depending on a number of additional factors. In addition, the pain that is involved at every single stage differs from person to person. It should be noted that these stages only apply to the expectant mothers who go through what is today referred to as the normal process of childbirth. For the women who deliver through Cesarian section processes the above stages are largely obsolete and irrelevant.