What Happens During the First Stage of Labor

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Illustration of baby's head in pelvis during birth

The Station


The "station" refers to the position of your baby's head in relation to your pelvis. This is recorded as a number between -5 and +5. Zero station means the head is "engaged" and has entered the vaginal canal within the pelvic bones. A negative number (-5 to 0) means that the head isn't engaged in the pelvis. A positive number (0 to +4) means that your baby's head is moving down the pelvis and +5 means your baby is crowning (being born). Ideally, you should not push until the head is engaged in the pelvis, even if you're fully dilated.

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