Stage 1: Early Labour
This stage begins when the cervix begins to soften and open up, this stage is complete when the cervix has opened to about 10 cms. It is the longest stage of labour and take hours to a few days. You may feel nothing for quite a long time, then you will feel some pain and discomfort. There is no pattern and contractions are irregular. Contractions will then start to become regular with shorter intervals in between. Contractions will become longer and build in intensity. You will need to know how you will cope with pain during labour.
In Early Labour you may have:
- Lower back pain
- Period like pain that comes and goes
- Loose bowels movements
- Blood-stained mucous discharge known as blood show
- Water breaking
- An urge to vomit
Stage 2: Active Labour
This stage is from when the cervix is dilated to 10 cms until the baby is born.
In Active Labour you may have:
- Longer and stronger contractions with an interval of 1 to 2 minutes in between
- The urge to push
- Increased pressure on your bottom
- Stretching and burning feelings in your vagina
- Shaky, cramps, nauseas and vomiting
The pushing phase can last up to 2 hours.
This stage is from when your baby has been born until after the placenta has been delivered.