When it comes to labor there are several stages – the first stage, also termed true labor, entails the dilation of your cervix by up to 10cm. The second stage spans the time between the dilation of your cervix till the birth of your child. The third stage involves the delivery of the placenta.
The final phase of your first stage of labor, however, is referred to as transition phase and is the hardest and probably the most challenging part of childbirth. The word itself ‘transition,’ signifies the physical transformation a woman’s body undergoes from the opening of the cervix to the commencement of the baby’s exit from your womb.
Transition Phase – What To Expect?
- Though it is considered to be the toughest part of labor, it happens to be the shortest, lasting from anywhere from half-an-hour to three hours.
- Expect strong, intense and long contraction that could overlap. Each contraction could last up to 60-90 seconds with 30 seconds to two-minute break in between.
- Your cervix will dilate up to 10cm.
- This process will have you completely engrossed and any external intrusions may cause you to get frustrated or annoyed.
- At the time you may be nauseous, frightened, exhausted and experience a series of cold/hot flashes.
- You will also experience an intense pressure in your bottom along with the urge to push.
How to Tackle The Transition Phase
1. Psych yourself
Fear has a lot to do with the unknown, hence arming yourself with the knowledge of what to expect is probably a great idea for your big day. Joining a pre-birth class along with your partner is great, for he or she will be assisting and supporting you throughout this process. Or at least we hope so.
Alongside this, you could also work on relaxing and exercising deep breathing maneuvers during the course of your pregnancy, which could boost those concentrating skills and bolster your mental strength.
2. Keep hydrated
Those obnoxious cold or hot flashes that accompany your contractions during the transition phase can result in your being parched. Ensure that you consume sufficient fluids. If you haven’t eaten anything, then opt for juices or drinks with electrolytes to maintain the energy levels you will need to push your baby.
Don’t forget your partner’s role in the process. He or she could use a damp cloth to periodically wipe the sweat off of you and cool your rising temperature.
3. Ensure you change positions
During the transition phase, women often feel that their little one is stuck and won’t move down. Research suggests that changing your position in this time can help. If you experience great pressure upon the lower back then, for relief, get on all fours. Also, urinating frequently can help since a bladder that is full makes the process more difficult.
4. Don’t be afraid to make sounds
Studies suggest that making low moaning noises during the transition phase can aid in the relaxation of the vaginal and cervical muscles. Feel free to grunt, wail, moan or even roar during this time!
5. Speak your mind
Don’t be afraid to inform your partner, midwife or doctor if you think their touch is interfering with your ability to focus. If, at the other end of the spectrum, you would like some gentle stroking in order to relax then don’t hesitate to make demands as well. No one will blame you; you are sort of doing all the work.
A newbie mommy’s transition phase can last up to three hours while a mother who has previously delivered vaginally could take as little as 30 minutes (huh, who said experience didn’t matter). But whatever the case, you are almost there. Just a bit more effort and you can finally hold your little love in your arms.