First-time mothers often experience growing anxiety as they approach their due date. The experience varies for all women depending on a number of factors, but while mothers cannot control all elements of giving birth, they can control certain things, such as their understanding of the labor experience before it occurs.

Prepared mothers can use the information they know about labor to assist in their own comfort throughout the process. Let’s take a look at the three different stages of labor.

Stage One: Labor

Labor starts when a woman’s cervix becomes soft and dilates. This is the longest stage of labor and generally lasts 6 – 12 hours for first-time mothers. Mothers should make themselves comfortable at this stage, whether they feel more comfortable at home or the doctor’s office or hospital. Most moms only experience mild contractions but those who notice bleeding should call their doctor right away.

Active labor generally starts when the cervix becomes 15cm dilated and lasts between 4 – 8 hours. During active labor, moms experience much more intense contractions. They may also experience back pain and nausea.

During this time, you will also want to stop eating solid foods and get to the hospital. You’ll be able to receive an epidural if that’s part of your birthing plan. Urinate as frequently as possible to make as much room as possible for the baby. Active labor ends when the mom’s cervix becomes 25cm dilated.

Stage Two: Delivery

Before delivery, moms experience 15 – 60 minutes of transition from labor to delivery, which includes highly intense contractions.

Delivery begins when the mom is ready to push. Moms must trust their bodies to tell them when it’s time to deliver the baby. Delivery can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours.

The medical staff has options when it comes to facilitating delivery if a mom is fully dilated yet not crowning after several attempts at pushing. Some women require an incision to open the vagina wider, but this is relatively rare. Less painful methods, such as forceps or suction, usually provide enough assistance.

Once the baby emerges from the birth canal, someone will clean the baby and cut the umbilical cord.

Stage Three: Placenta

Many women incorrectly believe that giving birth ends after the delivery. However, there’s a final stage of labor involving the placenta still inside of the mother. Five to thirty minutes after delivery, new moms will experience mild contractions, which indicate the body pushing the placenta out of the uterus. The mom will then deliver the placenta in a process that usually takes 20 minutes.

Schedule An Appointment Today

Outside of proper preparation, the right OBGYN can make giving birth a pleasant experience. If you are pregnant with your first child, contact Alex Tepper OBGYN today. Dr. Tepper can help you through the whole experience and ensure you’re comfortable every step of the way.

To schedule an appointment today, call our New York City office at 212-828-0900 or use our online contact form.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.