The Transition Phase Of Labor: Things To Know

The process of childbirth goes through various stages. They are classified as the first, second, and third stages. The first stage signifies the onset of true labor when your cervix starts dilating up to 10 cm. The second is characterized by a phase after the cervix is dilated to 10 cm until the baby is delivered. The third phase refers to delivering the placenta.

The transition phase is the final phase of the first stage labor, following the early and active phases. It is one of the most challenging and hardest parts of labor. The word “transition” refers to a woman’s body making a shift from opening the cervix to the beginning of the baby’s descent.

What Happens During The Transition Phase


  • The phase, though challenging, is the shortest part of the labor. It lasts between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
  • Contractions are long, intense, strong, and might overlap. They usually last between 60 and 90 seconds with a gap of 30
    seconds to 2 minutes in between.
  • The cervix dilates from 8cm to 10 cm.
  • You will be completely engrossed in the process and any intrusion from an external source may annoy or irritate you.
  • You may feel exhausted, nauseated, frightened, and have a series of hot/cold flashes.
  • You may feel a strong pressure in your bottom or an urge to push.

How To Cope With The Transition Phase

Brace Yourself Up


Being aware of what you will be going through during the process of childbirth, will help you handle the situation better. A pre-birth class with your birth partner is beneficial, as he/she will be assisting you throughout. Apart from this, practicing relaxation and deep breathing techniques during pregnancy can improve your focusing abilities and build mental strength.

Hydrate Yourself Well


The hot/cold flashes accompanied by the contractions can leave you dehydrated. Make

sure you consume plenty of fluids. In case you haven’t had anything in a while, electrolytes or juices help maintain the energy levels required for you to push the baby. Your partner can wipe your face and neck with a damp cloth to cool you down.

Change Positions


Most women feel that their baby is stuck and isn’t moving down. Studies show that changing positions during this time helps. For example, if you are feeling a lot of pressure on your lower back, getting on all fours provides some relief. Also, a full bladder can make the process difficult, therefore, urinating often helps. It might be difficult if you have shaky legs or nausea, in which case, you would need an assistance.

Make Sounds


Many women roar, grunt, wail, or moan without being consciously aware of it. Research indicates that

low moaning sounds help relax the cervical and vaginal muscles. But, the effect of this varies from one woman to another, as some might feel exhausted after making sounds.

Speak Up


If you feel that the touch of your doctor/partner/midwife is intrusive, don’t hesitate to speak up. This act of their’s might be distracting you from focusing. On the other hand, if you wish to get some gentle strokes on your back that would help you relax, let them know about it.

Tips To Partners


Partners play a crucial role by lending their support and encouragement to the woman. Below are some tips that will help you through the process.

  • Stay near the upper side of her body to let her know you are there.
  • Offer encouragement and praise.
  • Tell her constantly that she is doing great.
  • Remind her that the process is
    almost done.
  • Wipe her forehead and neck with a damp cloth.
  • Encourage her to relax between contractions.
  • Avoid small talk.

A first-time mother will take up to 3 hours in transition, and a mother who has delivered vaginally before might take as short as half an hour. In any case, it is important to realize that, you have done a great job till now and have come this far. A little more effort is what it takes to see your little one in your hands soon.