Name and discuss the three main stages of birth.

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The three main stages of birth are part of the delivery of the baby (fetus) umbilical cord, membranes and the placenta from the mother's womb (uterus.) In the first of these stages, labor starts with regular contractions of the uterus  during which the cervix gradually dilates until this reaches completion (ten centimetres.) Sometimes this starts slowly and imperceptibly (latent) as the cervix dilates and shortens gently with mild contractions. These get stronger and  more regular (active) once the cervix is dilated to 4 centimetres and then speed up as the baby comes down (descends) hopefully head first but often other parts present first which is not as straightforward for the delivery team.

Second stage starts when cervical dilatation is full and complete. It finishes when the baby (fetus) is delivered. The stage between the baby's delivery and the subsequent expulsion/delivery of the placenta and membranes is known as the third stage. The delivery of placenta/membranes can take under ten minutes, but on a few occasions might take up to half an hour.Although the birth of a long-awaited baby can often be so exciting it seems to blot everything else out, this vital third stage is very important in the care and recovery of the mother and in ensuring her future good health. Occasionally there are complications where the placenta is not spontaneously expelled and the uterus may need some encouragement. For example, prostaglandins may be used to get the uterus to contract sharply again a couple more times to expel the placenta fully. The process must be complete so that the mother's health is not at risk from complications. Other actions need to be taken too such as the cutting of the umbilical cord, and clamping it if necessary. The baby needs to be examined and monitored if necessary and bonding and rooting reflex will be encouraged if baby seems well.

thewanderlust878 | Student

In a nutshell, the entire birthing process is:

 first stage: begins when you start having contractions and ends when your cervix is fully dilated. This stage is divided into two phases:

  • Early labor: Your cervix gradually thins out and dilates 
  • Active labor: Your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly, and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. 

second stage: begins when you're fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. This is sometimes referred to as the "pushing" stage.

third stage: This is right after the birth of the baby ends and the "birth" of the placenta begins 

Hope this helps!

sid-sarfraz | Student

The three main stages of child birth are:-

  1. First Stage
  2. Second Stage
  3. Third Stage


It is the most intense part of child birth. It basically includes;

  • Early labor
  • Active labor
  • Transitional Phase

Basics of Early Stage:-

  1. The cervix flattens out
  2. Cervix is dilating up to 10 cms and opening
  3. Thinning of cervix

There are two phases in this stage:-

  • Active phase 
  • Latent Phase


Starts with dilation of cervix and ends with expulsion of fetus through birth canal.

It is divided in two phases:-

  1. Propulsive Phase
  2. Expulsive Phase

Basics of this stage are:-

  • Increment in the uterine contractions strength
  • Infant is delivered


In the third stage the placenta is expelled. It starts with the expulsion of fetus and ends with expelling of placenta.


  • Placenta, empty water bag and membranes attached to placenta are delivered
  • Involves controlling bleeding