The Stages of Labor and Birth in a Vaginal Delivery

Here's a simple rundown of what happens in a "typical" vaginal birth.

Three Tidy Stages

Each birth is as unique as the baby it produces. But the "classic" vaginal childbirth is described by practitioners in three tidy stages:

1. First Stage: Dilation and Effacement of the Cervix

a. early phase

b. active phase

c. transition phase

2. Second Stage: Pushing and Birth

3. Third Stage: Delivery of the Placenta

How long does the whole process last? For first-time mothers, the average is 14 hours, though of course it can be much longer or much shorter. For moms who've given birth before, the average labor and delivery lasts around 8 hours.

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