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Childbirth Stage Two

In a previous article, we mentioned what a wonderfully, joyous experience childbirth is.  Even the pregnancy, most women find enjoyable--not physically, but emotionally, as they bond to the child.  And while all childbirths are different, there are three basic stages that women will pass through during the childbirth. 

We already discussed the first stage, Stage One, the onset of labor, which goes until the cervix is dilated to about 10 cm. In this article, we'll discuss Stage Two, which continues from that point until you deliver the baby.  And then we'll conclude with Stage Three:  Delivery of the Placenta.

Stage two in childbirth is the pushing and delivery.  In the first stage, your body did all the work, without much deliberate action from you.   But now the cervix is completely dilated (10 cm), and so it's time for some willful assistance from you. In short, get ready to push!

Here's what you can expect during the push phase:

  • You can expect it to last somewhere between 20 to 120 minutes.
  • Contractions will be about 45 to 90 seconds in duration, and generally have a three to five minute rest between them.
  • There will be an almost irresistible desire to push.
  • Your rectum will feel a strong pressure.
  • Many women at this point have a small urinating or bowel accident.
  • Toward the end of the process, the crown of your baby's head will be visible.
  • During this part of the process, you'll feel a burning sensation.
  • Your doctor / health care professional will instruct you not to push for a few moments.
  • As time approaches for pushing, get into a position that will allow gravity to assist you.
  • When you feel the need, push.
  • Relax the anal area and pelvic floor.  Use Kegel exercises if necessary.
  • Take a short breather between contractions, in order to gather your strength.
  • It's a good idea to use a mirror to monitor your own progress.
  • Using as much energy as you can muster, push.
  • Expect this to take a few tries. It's common for the baby's head to emerge and then go back into the vagina for a few times.


If there is a support person, here's what he (or she) can do to help:

  • Keep the mom-to-be comfortable and relaxed (Ice chips will help).
  • Be encouraging the whole time.
  • Guide her through the contractions.
  • Tell her she's doing a good job.
  • If she gets irate with you, don't let it get to you.  She doesn't mean it.

You're almost finished with the delivery. Here's what to expect next. Remember that your baby has been in a sac of fluid for nine months, so expect him / her to look like it.  When he / she first emerges, the baby will have a conical head, a coating all over the body that will seem somewhat cheesy, eyes that are quite puffy, enlarged genitals, and a fine layer of hair that will cover his / her back, shoulders, temple and forehead. 

But don't worry:  Your new bundle of joy will clean up just fine!

Childbirth Series Articles:

Childbirth Stage 1
Childbirth Stage 2
Childbirth Stage 3

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