The Four Stages of Labor in Pregnancy

Let's Talk Stages of Labor - What Are They?

Whether it’s time to start planning for your delivery day or you’re just curious about what labor is like, we've got you. Today we're talking all stages of labor and what happens throughout each stage. Ready to dive in?!

Labor can seem daunting at first. Like really, really daunting. And I totally get it. I couldn't have been more nervous when I went into early labor with my first, but then I went on to do it three more times!

Labor is typically divided into three stages, each characterized by distinct physiological changes and progressions. So what can you expect in each stage?

Stage 1: Early Labor

Early labor is the initial phase of childbirth, marked by the onset of regular contractions as the uterus begins to rhythmically contract and relax. These contractions help soften and thin out the cervix, preparing it for dilation. Contractions may be irregular and mild, often likened to menstrual cramps.

As labor progresses, contractions become more frequent, intense, and regular, signaling the transition to active labor. This phase can last for several hours or more, and expectant mothers are encouraged to stay hydrated, rest as much as they can, and practice relaxation techniques to manage discomfort.

Stage 2: Active Labor

Active labor begins when the cervix is dilated to around 6 centimeters and continues until full dilation is reached at 10 centimeters. Contractions become stronger, longer, and closer together, signaling the baby's descent through the birth canal.

During active labor, expectant mothers may experience a range of sensations, including pressure in the pelvis, back pain, and the urge to push. With the guidance and support of their birth team, mothers work with their bodies to push the baby through the birth canal, often using breathing techniques and position changes to facilitate progress.

Stage 3: Delivery of the Placenta

After baby is born, the third stage of labor involves the delivery of the placenta, the organ that nourished and sustained baby thoughout pregnancy. Contractions continue as the uterus contracts and expels the placenta from the body. This stage is typically shorter and less intense than the preceding stages of labor and is often accompanied by feelings of relief and exhaustion.


After baby is born, the focus shifts to postpartum care and recovery for both mother and baby. New mothers may experience physical changes such as uterine contractions, vaginal bleeding, and soreness, while newborns undergo assessments and screenings to of their health and well-being.

Both mom and baby may be very delicate during this time, as both bodies just went through quite the experience!! Postpartum care is honestly something that I don’t think is talked about enough and needs to be. Every woman is different, but every woman deserves extra love and care during her postpartum.

Our Rumbly Postpartum Essentials Box is designed for this exact purpose - to help ensure the new mom feels comfortable, celebrated, and cared for during her postpartum period.

You’ve got this 💜


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