What Happens During the First Stage of Labor

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Dilating cervix

Dilation


Once your cervix is stretched and softened, it begins to open, or dilate, so that your baby can pass through into the vagina to be born. Regular contractions cause the cervix to dilate, and in first labors the cervix dilates at an average of 1 cm per hour; this rate is often faster for subsequent labors. Here, at 2 cm dilation, the cervix has shortened and is beginning to open. Contractions may still be irregular.

Next: Dilation -- 6 cm

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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