Stages of Labor

Early Labor 

(5 to 24 hours) Rest, eat, and drink lightly. Breathe slowly through contractions and relax.

Cervix opens 
0 to 4 centimeters.

Active Labor

(3 to 6 hours) Change your position. This may be taking a shower, sitting in a chair or rocking on your hands and knees.

Cervix opens 
4 to 8 centimeters.


(10 to 60 minutes) This is a very intense part of labor but does not last very long. You may need extra support during this part of labor.


Cervix opens 
8 to 10 centimeters.

Pushing and Birth 

(5 minutes to 3 hours) Push in a comfortable position. Blow or pant when your baby’s head is crowning. This helps to prevent tears to your vagina.

Your baby moves out of your uterus, through your vagina and out of your body. 

Birth of the Placenta 

(5 to 30 minutes) Contractions feel very mild. Your vagina may feel sore. 

You may be shaky and cold. Your placenta moves out of your uterus, through your vagina and out of your body.