Emergency Natural Childbirth: 3 Stages of Labor Stage 1

About the first of three stages of emergency natural childbirth and labor, tips and advice on what to do.

Emergency Childbirth


Labor is the term used to described the process by which the child is expelled from the uterus and consists of contractions of the wall of the womb (uterus) which force the baby and, later, the afterbirth (placenta) from the vagina. ...

1st Stage of Labor. The 1st stage is generally the longest and covers the period in which the small opening at the lower end of the womb gradually stretches until it is large enough to let the baby pass through. The contractions (tightening) of the uterus, which bring about this stretching ... are 5 to 30 minutes apart and are cramplike in character.

These pains, usually beginning as an aching sensation in the small of the back, become regularly recurring cramplike pains in the lower abdomen within a short time. By placing a hand on the mother's abdomen just above the navel, tightening of the uterus may be felt as an increasing firmness or hardness. The pains disappear each time the uterus relaxes. Early pains are not very severe; they may even stop for a while and then start up again. A slight watery, bloodstained discharge from the vagina normally accompanies labor pains or occurs before the pains begin.

The mother should not attempt to push the baby down by bearing down, but should try to relax her muscles. She can do this by taking deep breaths with her mouth open during each tightening. During the 1st stage of labor, uterine contractions are involuntary and controlled. Not only is it futile for the mother to bear down, but it leads to exhaustion and may tear parts of the birth canal.

The end of this 1st stage is usually signaled by the sudden passing of a large gush of water (a pint or so). This is caused by the normal breaking of the bag of waters which surrounds the baby in the mother's womb; it cleanses and lubricates the birth canal. With some women, the bag of water breaks before labor begins or is the 1st sign of its beginning. This should not cause the mother or those helping her any concern as it usually does not affect the birth.

Preparations should be made to transport the mother to medical attention if birth is not imminent.

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