First Stage of Labor

What's Happening
The cervix finishes dilating and begins making the transition from opening to pushing.

Contractions are now powerful and efficient, so this phase is usually quite short (less than one hour).

Some women feel nauseous or shaky, restless or irritable.

What Helps
To keep from feeling overwhelmed, focus on one contraction at a time.

Continue with breathing, vocalization (if it helps) and rhythmic movement.

Even though rest periods are short, you can relax deeply during them and restore yourself.

Those providing labor support should offer close, undivided attention, gentle, unwavering encouragement and praise. If you're using a breathing pattern, your support should try "conducting" to help you focus or should move with you in rhythm to your breathing.

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