On the 3rd day of Christmas Calm Mama gave to me... 3 stages of labour!

When many people think about labour they think about ‘labour and delivery’ but in fact there are 3 stages of labour.

The 1st stage of labour is normally the longest and is the stage we spend the most time discussing during your hypnobirthing classes. This stages is the ‘contracting to dilate’ phase of labour when your contractions work to pull all your uterine muscles upwards causing the cervix to go from being a long thick band of muscles to a thin and dilated opening. It is in this phase that many of the hypnobirthing techniques we learn in our course will come in most handy as the contractions build and become more intense as you progress through this 1st stage of labour.

Once you reach ‘fully dilated’ you move into the 2nd stage of labour, often known as the ‘pushing stage’. In this stage the uterine muscles which have up contracting and pulling upwards switch job and begin to bear downwards. If the birthing body has been allowed to work uninterrupted and not interfered with, for many women this switch becomes an uncontrollable need to bear down. Not actively ‘pushing’ their baby but just allowing those uterine muscles to manoeuvre the baby through the birth canal and out of the body. For a first time mum this stage can last up to 2 hours but is often much less in a subsequent birth. In my hypnobirthing course we discuss in great detail about how to give the body the best chance of being able to deliver baby safely with the body’s natural fetal ejection reflex and reduce the change of needed assistance.

You may think that once baby is born than that is the end of labour, but there is one remaining stage of labour left. The 3rd stage is when the powerful placenta organ which has kept your baby safe and nourished throughout pregnancy is then delivered. This can be a physiological process where the body continues to contract and the placenta is delivered often around 30-60 minutes after baby is born. Or can be ‘managed actively’ by an injection from your midwife which releases the placenta within about 10-20minutes of baby being born. We discuss the pros and cons of both ways of managing the 3rd stage of labour during our courses and would always encourage parents to be to research which is the option they feel most comfortable with, but which ever way of managing the 3rd stage of labour you choose your placenta needs to be born. Once that placenta is out then that is it, labour is complete and you can spend that beautiful golden hour beginning to bond with your gorgeous new child.