Latent phase of labor
The initial stage of labor is known as the latent phase. It is more appropriately referred to as the “waiting game” stage of labor. It may take some time for first-time mothers to progress past the latent stage of labor.
In this stage, contractions aren’t yet strong or regular. As it gets ready for the main event, the cervix is essentially “warming up,” softening, and shortening.
You might consider picturing the uterus as a balloon. Consider the cervix as the balloon’s neck and opening. The balloon’s neck draws up with the pressure of the air behind it as you fill it up, just like the cervix does.
The cervix is nothing more than the uterus’ bottom opening swelling and widening to accommodate the growing baby.
Active stage of labor
When the cervix has dilated to approximately 5 to 6 cm and contractions start to lengthen, intensify, and cluster closer together, a woman is said to be in the active stage of labor.
More so than anything else, the rate of regular cervical dilation per hour best describes the active stage of labor. During this stage, your doctor will anticipate seeing your cervix open at a more regular rate.
How long does stage 1 of labor last?
The duration of the latent and active phases in women has no established scientific hard and fast rule. In the active phase of labor, a woman may dilate anywhere between 0 and 10 centimeters. 5 cm per hour up to 0. 7 cm per hour.
Whether or not this is your first child will also affect how quickly your cervix dilates. Labor typically progresses more quickly for mothers who have previously delivered a baby.
Some women will simply progress more quickly than others. Some women may “stall” at a certain stage before rapidly dilating.
It’s generally safe to anticipate a steady cervical dilation every hour once labor enters the active stage. A lot of women don’t really start to dilate more frequently until closer to 6 cm.
When a woman’s cervix is fully effaced (thinned out) and dilated to 10 cm, the first stage of labor is over.
When a woman’s cervix is fully dilated to 10 centimeters, the second stage of labor starts. Although a woman is fully dilated, that doesn’t guarantee that the baby will be delivered right away.
Even after a woman has reached full cervical dilation, the baby might still need time to completely descend the birth canal before giving birth. Push when the baby is in its ideal position. The second stage ends after the baby is delivered.