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The second stage of labour

The second stage of labour is the pushing stage of labour and when your baby will be born! It begins once you are 10cm dilated and will continue until your baby is delivered into the world. This stage of labour lasts between one and two hours, but like in the first stage of labour, it varies depending on whether you’ve had an epidural or not and whether it’s your first natural birth or not. Some women only remain in this stage of labour for 20 minutes!

Your contractions become more spaced out than they were in the transition phase of the first stage of labour, which means you get some time to rest between them. Once you enter stage 2 of labour, it is important to find a position you are comfortable in. You can sit, stand, squat, lay on your back, lay on your side, kneel or mix it up depending on how you feel. Your midwife will help you find the most comfortable position. During these contractions you will begin to push with your doctor and/or midwife’s guidance until your baby’s head crowns.

Once your baby’s head has crownedyou will either be asked to stop pushing or to only push gently. Instead

baby an dumbilical cord

The end of stage 2 labour
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

you will need to puff and pant as you did during the first stage of labour. This is because if your baby’s head passes through the perineum gradually there is less risk of tearing and need for an episiotomy.

Once your baby’s head has emerged one big push should do the trick to get his entire body out. As long as there are no complications you should be holding your baby in a matter of minutes. In an uneventful delivery your doctor and/or midwife will only have to suction your baby’s mouth and nasal passages to rid them of mucus and any meconium, clamp and cut the umbilical cord and do a quick exam before he is in your hands.

Remember to trust your gut during this stage of labour, your body was made to do this and you’ll know what to do, especially with all the support you will be receiving from your doctor, midwife and partner. You’re going to do an amazing job!

The Third Stage of Labour

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