The labor timetable is sort of a myth, because your labor, will be unlike another woman's labor. It's hard to...
The labor timetable is sort of a myth, because your labor, will be unlike another woman's labor. It's hard to slap a timetable up and say, "Ok, follow this grid" - that's just silly. Still, there is an average timetable that you can follow; so long as you know that you may not follow it to a tee. When in labor stay flexible and open to change and your personal timetable. Early labor:
  • Can last for hours or days.
  • Early labor means mild to somewhat moderate contractions.
  • These contractions may happen every 5-20 or so minutes, but they won't be closer together than say three minutes.
  • These contractions can last for 30 seconds or a minute.
  • The pain of these contractions is manageable. You should feel them, but it won't be intense pain that takes a while to recover from. Most women are able to talk and walk their way through early labor contractions. Even me, and I'm the biggest pain wimp you'll ever meet.
Active labor:
  • You'll merge into active labor from early labor. When it happens you'll know.
  • These contractions will be moderate to intense, harder to handle, and it helps to have someone talk you through them (usually) some women do well powering through them on their own. You most likely will not be able to talk or walk while these contractions are going on.
  • Contractions will occur every 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Contractions can last a minute or longer.
  • Active labor for first time mamas tends to last about 5-6 hours, but I've seen women go through it faster, and I myself was in active labor for way longer (you don't want to know).
Transition: 
  • Transition is the term used for what happens right before you'll be giving birth. This is when your baby is seriously ready to arrive.
  • Contractions are very painful during transition. Or maybe strong is the better word. There's a point in labor when pain becomes somewhat intermixed with strong, so strong you're not thinking pain, you're just thinking about how to get through it. It's hard to explain, that's the best I can do.
  • Strong contractions during transition will usually last about 1 to 2 minutes, with almost no rest in between.
  • Transition lasts for an hour on average, but again, I've seen women transition FAST. I've heard of women transitioning much slower.
Transition comes right before pushing, so although it's hard, it helps to have someone there (i.e. a doula or your partner) who will remind you that transition will be over soon, and that your baby will arrive. Also read: How to get ready to cope with labor

Tags: active labor are these contractions are you in labor contractions coping with labor is labor starting labor timetable painful labor pushing stage transition when does labor start


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