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The Birth


The Birth
Any labour occurring after 37 weeks is considered ‘normal.’ Labour is divided into three different stages.

The first stage of labour is the time from when your contractions start until the cervix is completely open (dilated), although you won’t be considered to be in labour ‘proper’ until your cervix is three cm dilated. The first stage of labour is usually the longest, and can last many hours, even a couple of days. When you first go into labour, it’s a good idea to stay at home, and only go into hospital when your contractions are coming every ten minutes.

The second stage is when the baby is pushed out. This rarely takes more than a couple of hours, and most health professionals prefer not to let a woman push for more than an hour, in case of foetal distress, and the third stage is delivery of the placenta. Remember that most births go smoothly, with only a small percentage of women needing a caesarean section. The most intervention experienced might be the use of forceps, or a ventouse cap, plus an episiotomy, to help the baby out, but the vast majority of women give birth without any intervention at all.