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Pregnancy & birth
Time to start pushing, and after nine months of waiting, prepare to meet your baby during the second stage of labour
Transition The period between the first and second stages of labour can last up to half an hour. During transition, some women feel slightly out of control, while others can become withdrawn.
Tell-tale signs of transition * A break in contractions of 20-30 minutes * Feeling pressure in your bottom from your baby’s head * Uncontrollable trembling in your legs * Feeling hot or cold * Irritability * Nausea or drowsiness
Now for stage two Stage two of labour starts when you are fully dilated (10cm). As your cervix disappears behind the baby’s head, you start to feel an intense urge to push as his head touches your pelvic floor muscles – this is a good time to try standing upright.
Your body Your contractions will become less frequent but more expulsive, and you’ll begin to work with your uterus to push your baby through the birth canal, with your abdominal muscles and your diaphragm contracting too, making it one big whole-body effort. It’s a lot more tiring than stage one, so this only lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. After your first birth, it may only last a few minutes.
What’s happening? As you push, your baby’s head will move onto your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus). If your baby comes through the birth canal slowly, your perineum will adjust and won’t tear.
Your baby’s head then crowns, so the widest part of his head is born and the rest of his head should follow slowly in the next contraction – his body is likely to be born with the next contraction.
What’s it like for your baby? He'll instinctively know the best way through the birth canal, making subtle twists and turns. As your uterus compresses the umbilical cord, his heart rate may slow a little. But his soft skull bones mould or overlap at the crucial moment, allowing him to fit through your pelvis. As his head is born, his chest will be compressed inside your pelvis, helping him to take his first breath.
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