When you are having regular, painful contractions that feel stronger and last more than 30 seconds, labour may have started. As labour gets going (gets established) your contractions tend to become longer, stronger and more frequent. During a contraction, the muscles in your womb contract and the pain increases.
Sometime patients have some questions and myths in their mind so we tries to answer some of them below.
It starts from the beginning of true labour pains and ends with full dilatation (opening) of cervix. The average duration is approximately 12 hours in first pregnancy and 6 hours in 2nd or more pregnancies. Initially pains are not strong and come at intervals of 15 to 30 minutes and last for 30 seconds. Gradually the interval shortens and intensity and duration increases. In late first stage the pains come at every 3-5 minutes and last for 45 seconds. Pains are usually felt shortly after uterine contraction begins and pass off before complete relaxation of uterus. Maternal and foetal condition remains unaffected except during contraction. Management: Noninterference with watchful expectancy so as to prepare the woman for a vaginal smooth delivery in 2nd stage. The progress of labour, maternal condition and foetal behaviour is monitored so that any deviation from the normal is detected at the earliest possible moment.
Starts from full dilatation (opening) of cervix and ends with expulsion of the fetus. Its average duration is 2 hours in the first delivery \of baby and 30 minutes in second or more deliveries. This stage concerns with coming down of fetus and delivery of the fetus through the birth canal. Patient is shifted to the labour table and given the position for delivery the intensity of pain increases. It comes at interval of 2-3 minutes and lasts for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. It becomes successive and unbearable in terminal stage. The patient feels like pushing the baby down and out called "bearing down". The head comes out first followed by shoulders and rest of the body. Patient shows signs of exhaustion.
The technique involves injection of local anaesthetic drugs, administered through epidural catheter. The process is repeated till the baby is delivered. It not only provides respite to expectant mother from unbearable pain during delivery, other factors including blood pressure, pulse rate and heart beats of foetus and mother are also kept under control.