Labor progresses differently for every woman but on average, labor lasts about 12-14 hours for a first birth. In later births, labor may be shorter. Labor occurs in three stages. During each stage, certain changes take place in the body that are consistent for every woman.
Stage 1 - Labor: When regular contractions begin, the baby moves down into the pelvis as the cervix both effaces (thins) and dilates (opens).
Stage 2 - Delivery: Once the cervix is fully dilated the baby will begin moving down the birth canal. You will be asked to push the baby out by bearing down during each contraction until the baby is born.
Stage 3 - Delivery of the placenta: After the baby is born, the uterus will continue to contract and the placenta will be delivered.
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