Labor, Delivery and Birth

Just before child birth and the delivery of your baby, your cervix is completely dilated and effaced. You may hear the doctor say that you are 100 percent effaced and 10 centimeters dilated (approx. 4 inches). Contractions are between 3 and 5 minutes apart and last between 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. This is called the pushing stage of labor.


When you feel like it's time to push, be sure to let the nurse or midwife know immediately so that they can get everything ready. Don't push until your health care professional tells you it's time. Once you're given the green light to push, your baby will start to come down through the birth canal. The pushing phase can be short or it can take up to 2 hours, depending on how many children you have had before.

When your baby comes through the birth canal, your doctor may ask you to stop pushing. This is necessary as he may have to clean out the baby's airways before continuing. Your baby has arrived. His or her umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and this phase of child birth is complete.

After Giving Birth to Your Child

The placenta is delivered during this stage of child birth. Contractions will continue, and your nurse may push on your abdomen to help expel the placenta. In some cases, your health care professional may ask you to push once more to get the placenta out of your birth canal. He or she will then examine it to make sure that it is intact.