Why does the birth of a child take so long

Stages of birth

Three stages of childbirth

Infrequent labor pains set in three to four weeks before the birth. As the name suggests: They help lower the stomach so that the baby can slide deeper towards the pelvic floor. A few days before the birth, irregular and strong pre-contractions (pressure: up to 40 mmHg) cause the child's head to be pressed firmly into the entrance to the pelvic floor. The transition to the opening labor of the opening phase (first of the three birth phases) is fluid.

1st phase: opening phase

The birth begins with the longest phase, the opening phase: Regular and strong opening pains develop from the pre-contractions (pressure: 40 to 50 mmHg). They last 30 to 60 seconds each and occur every five to 20 minutes. The closer you get to the birth, the shorter the intervals between labor.

The cervix shortens as a result of labor and certain metabolic processes. In addition, the cervix widens from zero to about ten centimeters. So the child's head can step even deeper. The head increasingly presses on the amniotic sac until it ruptures (the bubble ruptures in good time) and passes the bony pelvis of the mother-to-be.

In the case of first-time mothers, the opening phase lasts up to twelve hours, whereas in women who have already given birth (at least) one child, it takes an average of two to eight hours. The reason is that in first-time women, the cervix shortens first and then the cervix opens. In multiparous women, on the other hand, these two processes happen simultaneously.

Premature or delayed rupture of the bladder

Occasionally the amniotic sac bursts before the opening labor and thus before the cervix is ‚Äč‚Äčcompletely opened. Because there is then a risk of ascending infections, the pregnant woman should go to the hospital quickly.

If the amniotic sac does not tear until the expulsion phase, one speaks of a delayed rupture of the bladder. Midwives or doctors then open the amniotic sac with a small instrument.

2nd phase: expulsion phase

In the second phase of birth, the expulsion phase, the cervix opens completely and the child is born. First, the regular expulsion contractions (pressure: 60 mmHg) set in. They occur every four to ten minutes. When the child's head reaches the pelvic floor, it creates pressure on the mother. This sets in motion a maternal reflex to actively pushing, which is also noticeable in the frequency and strength of the contractions: Every two to three minutes, pressing contractions occur - the most intense type of labor (pressure: 200 mmHg).

Thanks to the contractions and the reflective cooperation of the mother, the head is pushed deeper and deeper into the vagina until it passes the vaginal outlet at the end of the expulsion phase. The child sees the light of day head first (normally)! If the head passes through the dam, one speaks of cutting through. To prevent a possible perineal tear, midwives press lightly on the perineum. During the next contraction, the baby's shoulders and the rest of the body usually follow very quickly. If everything is okay with the child, you can have them placed on your stomach or chest straight away.

The obstetricians, especially your midwife, are at your side during the expulsion phase. They tell you exactly how to actively participate.

In primiparous women, the expulsion phase usually lasts up to an hour, in multiparous women often only 20 to 30 minutes. Active participation by the woman giving birth can shorten this phase.

If the baby does not want to come, cautious help is given to first-time women after about an hour, and to multiparous women after 20 to 30 minutes: the child is carefully pulled out with a suction cup or forceps.

3rd phase: postpartum phase

A few minutes after the child is born, the third of the birth phases begins: the postpartum phase. It lasts an average of ten to 20 minutes and ends with the expulsion of the placenta. Detachment and expulsion of the placenta are made possible by the afterbirth contractions, the intensity of which gradually decreases.

In the puerperium, there are final after-labor pains. They serve to regress the uterus and stop bleeding.