SafeMotherhood
safe motherhood

THE FIRST STAGE OF LABOUR

TRANSITION

 

Transition falls at the end of the first stage of labour and before the second stage. When the cervix is almost fully dilated, labour often becomes a rather chaotic experience. You may feel:

Physically:

sick
shaky
very cold (especially your feet)
that your contractions have more than one peak

Emotionally:

angry
abusive
unable to cope any longer
weepy
that you never wanted a baby anyway

Most women find labour overwhelming now, and fear it will never end. Once your cervix is fully dilated (10 cms), you can tell yourself that you've done most of the hard work and are ready to move on to the next stage.

Sometimes first-stage contractions seem to change to second-stage (pushing) contractions without a break. It's also not uncommon for contractions to stop for ten or twenty minutes before you want to start pushing, and during this time, you can rest, take some refreshment, wash your hands and face and mentally prepare for your baby's arrival.

If you are having your baby at home, your midwife will be with you all the time unless you ask her to leave you alone with your labour companion for a while.

In hospital, the midwife will keep a regular eye on you but may be caring for other women in labour as well. If you need her, don't hesitate to press the bell.

It's often hospital policy that you should have an internal examination every four hours, but you don't have to accept this. An experienced midwife should be able to assess how your labour is progressing by simply putting a hand on your tummy to feel the strength of your contractions and by observing your behaviour.