A pregnant woman with contraction in a hospital waiting to give birth.

Giving birth is an incredible act that calls for strength, resilience, and support. Understanding the stages of labor and delivery can ease your worries and empower you to successfully complete the final steps that take you from pregnancy to motherhood.

The first phase is early labor which typically lasts from 6 to 12 hours. It starts with mild contractions that gradually ramp up in intensity and frequency while your cervix starts thinning out and opening up. This is the time to practice breathing exercises with your birth partner to manage any discomfort, and walking may also help.

When early labor transitions into the second phase called active labor, your contractions get stronger, longer, and closer together. Your cervix keeps dilating, allowing your baby to make their way down the birth canal. You might start feeling the urge to push, but follow the directions of your birthing team about when to start and how to push.

Delivery of the baby is the third phase when all your hard work pays off.  As your cervix reaches full dilation, your baby's head crowns and then emerges, helped along by your contractions and pushing. The birthing team will be right there to guide the baby’s shoulders and body out and complete the birth.

Your little one is here, but the final step is delivering the placenta. Mild contractions will help to separate the placenta from the uterine wall. This stage is usually quick and doesn't require much effort from you.

Labor and delivery are different with every birth, but approaching this with knowledge and confidence will help you be ready to welcome your child into the world with a feeling of joy and accomplishment.

Remember to seek guidance from healthcare professionals to ensure a positive birth experience.  If you’re in the Southgate or Brownstown area, Northline Women’s Health Center can help with all your women’s health needs, and you can request an appointment online.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax