Stages of Labor!


The series of events that happen in the reproductive tract of mother during the process of childbirth, to deliver the baby from intrauterine life into the world are labelled as Stages of Labor.

Classification of Stages of Labor:

The entire process of Labor pain is classified into four stages.


1- First stage of labour-

1st stage


The first stage of labor lasts from onset of true labor pains to complete effacement and full dilatation of cervix. In primigravida, the effacement precedes dilatation, whereas in multipara, both the events occur together.

There is often little descent of fetal head during first stage.

Classification of first stage:

A- Latent phase of Labour-

  • This phase lasts from onset of true labor when there is neither dilatation nor effeacement of cervix to around 80% effacement (taken up of cervix by lower uterine segment) and 3 cm dilatation of cervix.
  • During this phase, the uterine contractions become more stable, regular, increase in frequency and lasts longer.
  • The cerix usually dilates @ 0.2 -0.3 cm/hr.
  • Its duration is uncertain and may lasts 10-12 hours in primigravida and around 6-8 hours in multipara.
  • The patient may experience show (blood mixed mucoid discharge) from the vagina.

B- Active Phase of Labour-

  • This phase lasts from 80% effacement and 3 cm dilatation of cervix to complete effacement and full dilatation of cervix ( i.e. 10 cm).
  • The cervix usually dilates @ 1 cm/hr in primigravida and @ 2cm/hr in multipara.
  • It lasts approximately 6-10 hours in primigravida and 3-6 hours in multipara.
  • If this phase takes more than 2 hours than estimated time, then the progress of labor needs evaluation.

2. Second stage of labour-


  • This phase lasts from complete effacement and full dilatation of cervix until delivery of baby.
  • It maximum lasts 2 hours in primigravida and around 1 hour in multipara.
  • The uterine contractions are regular, frequent occuring every 2-3 minutes, more intense and lasts longer around 1-1.5 minutes.
  • During the later stage, the mother may experience the sensation of defecation and bearing down.
  • With every contractions, the fetal head descent down the vagina and ultimately leads to crowning of fetal head through vulval opening.

3.  Third stage of labour


  • This phase lasts from delivery of baby until complete expulsion of placenta and fetal membranes.
  • It usually lasts for 15-30 minutes in both multi and primigravida.
  • Immidiately after the delivery of baby, the uterus contracts and retracts under the influence of oxytocin hormone and leads to separation of placenta from its bed and subsequently its expulsion. The compression of spiral arteries due to contraction of uterus controls blood loss.
  • The usual blood loss during this phase is around 200-300 ml. However, if the blood loss is severe and more than 500 ml, it can lead to anemia and can be fatal, adversely affecting the mother.

4-  Fourth stage of labour-

  • This phase lasts from complete expulsion of placenta and fetal membranes to 1 hour post delivery.
  • During this phase, special attention is given to monitor the mother’s blood loss, heart rate, blood pressure, uterine contractions etc.


The information is shared to create awareness towards Pregnancy and Childcare to reduce maternal and child deaths. Atmost care has been taken by the author to include the verified information from authentic sources. However, kindly discuss the same with your health care provider before implementation.