Let’s take a closer look at the process of childbirth.

Stages of Labour Condition Labour Experience General Hospital Procedures
1st Stage
  • Cervix dilates from 0 – 3 cm.
  • Contractions: regular (5-20 min apart) or irregularly spaced.
  • Can occur over weeks, days or hours.
  • Menstrual-like cramps, backache, indigestion, diarrhoea and slight bloody discharge.
  • Exercise deep breathing and relax.
  • You will be encouraged to stay at home until your contractions are regular and painful.
  • Call the hospital to speak to midwives if you are unsure whether to stay at home or go into the hospital.
  • When you arrive to hospital, you will remain in the labour room at this stage.
  • Periodical checks on cervix dilation.
  • Cervix dilates from 3 – 7 cm.
  • Contractions interval of 2-5 minutes.
  • Lasting 30-60 seconds.
  • Cervix dilates from 7 – 10 cm.
  • Contractions interval of 1-2 minutes.
  • More intense pain.
  • Get into comfortable position.
  • Exercise breathing technique like Lamaze.
  • Cervix is widely dilated; baby is almost there!
  • Intense, painful, regular contractions.
  • You may feel the urge to pass stools as baby’s head is pressing on the rectum.
  • This is when you may experience a rupture of membrane.
  • Foetal monitor will be strapped on your abdomen to determine baby’s heartbeat & contractions of uterus.
2nd Stage
  • Cervix dilates up to 10 cm.
  • Baby is ready to be born!
  • Midwives/Doctor will place you on your preferred delivery posture.
  • Baby’s head crowning. You will feel a burning, stretching sensation.
  • Listen to your body as it guides you to bear down and push.
  • Keep pushing and breathing as instructed by your midwife/doctor.
  • You will already be in the delivery room.
  • You might still be attached to a monitor to assess your condition.
3rd Stage
  • Approximately 30min after the birth of baby.
  • Delivery of placenta.
  • Congratulations! You’ve made it!
  • Doctor will assess if you need further medical treatment.
  • An injection is usually given of an artificial hormone to reduce the time of this stage.
  • Doctor will massage your lower abdomen to deliver the placenta.
  • Suture will be done (if needed).
  • Mums will be cleaned up, given maternity pads and moved to their respective.


Medical procedures that are available during childbirth.

This information will give you a better understanding on whatever procedure you or your doctor might choose for childbirth:

No. Medical Procedures Pain Relief Procedures
1. Induction with Oxytocin

  • An agent that induces childbirth by stimulating contractions.
Intravenous (I.V) Medication

  • Mainly used during early labour via an injection to the vein or muscle to help dull the pain. IV might not eliminate the pain completely.
2. Episiotomy

  • A cut of the perineum skin downward towards the anus to enlarge vaginal opening.
  • Helps shorten the pushing phase, prevents oxygen deprivation for baby and ragged perineal tears.
Local Anaesthesia

  • Injected to the vaginal and rectal area during delivery. Provide numbness in a small area (normally administered during episiotomy).
3. Vacuum Extraction

  • A large suction cup is placed on your baby’s head.
  • Used when baby is not progressing down as quickly as it should be.
Epidural Anaesthesia

  • Injected at the back lining of the spinal cord. Provides pain relief for vaginal delivery or allows the mother to stay awake during C-Section. Not recommended for women with low blood pressure or bleeding placenta.
  • There are, however, some possible side effects and complications such as:
  1. If not administered at the right spot, only part of the body is numbed – requiring more injection.
  2. Due to lack of sensation, a urinary catheter must be inserted.
  3. Can lengthen the labour period.
  4. Possibility of having natural birth is greatly reduced.
  5. Baby will have to be delivered by forceps, vacuum or C-Section as mom can’t feel their muscle to push.
  6. Some mothers will experience headaches or migraines immediately after the procedure.
4. Forceps Extraction

  • A set of metal tong-like apparatus used to help pull baby out of the vagina in conjunction with pushing.
5. Cervical Ripening Agents

  • Use of ripening agent called Pitocin that softens, effaces (thins) and dilates the vaginal opening.
  • Can trigger labour to start.


Caesarean Section or better known as C-Section.

Apart from the Medical and Pain Relief Procedures mentioned above, one of the major procedures performed during childbirth is the Caesarean Section or better known as C- Section. C-Section should be considered as the last option and should be performed only during complications:

C-Section involves 2 types of incisions:

  • An incision through the abdominal wall; and
  • An incision through the uterus (to deliver the baby)


No. Conditions that require C-Section (opt) Conditions that require an Emergency C-Section
1. Placenta Previa
Placenta partially or completely covers the cervical opening to birth canal.
Prolapsed Cord
A condition where the umbilical cord drops into the vagina during labour before baby is delivered.
2. Breech Birth
Baby is positioned in reversed position (buttocks or feet first).
Abruption Placentae
The placenta partially or completely tears away from the uterus before birth.
3. Multiple Pregnancies
Delivering twins or usually performed for delivering three or more babies.
Cephalopelvic Disproportion
Baby is either too large or is not aligned properly to the birth canal.
4. Maternal Illness
Complications such as heart disease or diabetes.
Foetal Distress
Abnormally persistent foetal heart rate during labour that is life threatening to the baby.
5. Preeclampsia and Eclampsia (toxaemia of pregnancy)
Symptoms such as severe high blood pressure, protein in the urine and seizures.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia (toxaemia of pregnancy)
Symptoms such as severe high blood pressure, protein in the urine and seizures.
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