From Active Labour to Birth
In the active labour stage, the cervix starts to dilate more rapidly from 4cm to 10cm. Your contractions will increase in frequency and intensity – occurring around every 5 minutes and lasting about 60 – 90 seconds each time. This stage may last as short as 1 hour or up to 8 hours for some women. Some women experience side effects of the intense pain such as nausea and shakiness at this stage. Your obstetrician will monitor you and your baby’s heartbeat closely throughout this process. When the cervix has fully dilated to 10cm, the doctor will encourage you to start pushing until your baby’s head and body emerges. This process may last for 1 – 2 hours. If necessary, your doctor may make an incision called an episiotomy to widen the vaginal opening and assist the delivery of your baby.
Pain management during labour
During labour, you may opt for medical options for pain relief, or practice natural pain management techniques to manage the pain. The most common agents used for pain management are epidural (a local anaesthetic which numbs the nerves carrying the pain impulses from the birth canal to the brain), gas and air, and intra-muscular injection.