This is from the cervix being 4cm dilated with regular contractions until the cervix is 10cm dilated (known as fully dilated). Self-help techniques are very useful during this stage and your birthing partner can make a big difference. Having someone with you to provide support and encouragement can help you have a much more positive experience.
Throughout, your midwife will monitor your baby’s wellbeing and offer vaginal examinations to make that everything is progressing as normal. You can try out different positions to see what works best for you and often being mobile and upright during labour can help to make sure things progress as quickly as they can.
This is from when the cervix is fully dilated (10cm) right up until the birth of your baby. There are lots of positions which will help from standing, squatting, lying on your side or getting onto all fours. Your midwife will work with you to find the best position.
As the baby moves further down the birth canal you will feel more pressure – go with this urge to push and your midwife will be there to support and guide you. Once your baby is born usually you will have some time to hold and cuddle your baby and spend time in skin-to-skin contact, with the opportunity to breastfeed your baby as soon as you would like to. Ideally this first feed takes place within the first hour.
This stage takes place after the birth until the placenta has been delivered. This can be a natural process, known as physiological management, or you can have an injection to speed the process up, known as active management.
There are additional means to monitor your labour and other potential interventions which may be needed in certain circumstances.