The stages of childbirth

About 90% of the time, labor starts with contractions. 10% of deliveries start with the rupture of the waters. Below I describe the different phases of childbirth

The phases

Phase 1

This is the preparatory phase. Here the contractions are still irregular and short. You can often do little things in between. The first phase is also the beginning of dilation, the cervix softens. It may differ per person how long this phase lasts

Phase 2

This is the active phase. Here the contractions become regular and last longer than in the first phase (about 1 minute) and become difficult to cope with. In this phase you can also start looking for comfortable positions if the contractions become too heavy. For example, you can sit in the bath (not if the waters have broken). It is wise to keep drinking every time and eat something that contains a lot of energy. Also go to the toilet more often. With a second or subsequent child you are more likely to experience contractions. Here the contractions come regularly, but can subside again after a while. When you think labor has started, this is very frustrating.

Phase 3

If the birth continues, you can already fill 2 jugs with boiling water and check whether they are not leaking. You can wrap the baby’s clothes around one hot water bottle and 2 hydrophilic diapers and a cellulose mat around the other hot water bottle. This way everything is nice and warm when your baby is brought into the cold world. Also make sure that the room where you want to give birth is at a nice temperature.

When should you call?

If contractions come every 3-4 minutes for an hour and last longer than a minute, you should call your obstetrician or gynecologist. If the water breaks, pay attention to the color of the water. If you are not yet 37 weeks pregnant and your waters break, you should call your obstetrician/gynecologist immediately. This also applies if the amniotic fluid is not clear (green or brown). If you have clear/pink amniotic fluid, you can also call the midwife. Only if the amniotic fluid breaks and is clear but the head had not yet descended at the last check, you should lie flat on the bed and wait until the midwife arrives.
If your membranes have broken, you are no longer allowed to take a bath, have sex or use a tampon due to the risk of infection.

When should you also call?

  • If you have bright red bleeding that is more than a sanitary napkin full. Losing the mucus plug may be accompanied by some red/brown bleeding, this is normal and you do not need to call ahead. You must call for all other types of blood loss.
  • If you are insecure, anxious and worried and worried.
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