Labor and Delivery
During labor, your body prepares for the birth of your child through a series of muscle contractions aimed at dilating your cervix to a diameter of about 10 centimeters. Once it is fully dilated, your baby can pass through the cervix and into the birth canal. You’ve probably seen a chart showing the various stages of dilation, and have shaken your head in disbelief at the 10-centimeter circle. It may not seem possible that your body can actually accomplish that, but it can. It’s not an easy process — it’s appropriately named labor — but you can do it. And the dedicated, professional staff at Swedish Medical Center will be there to help you.
Phases of labor
There are three phases of labor: early labor, during which the cervix dilates to about three to four centimeters; active labor, which stretches the cervix to about seven or eight centimeters; and transitional labor, at the end of which the cervix is fully dilated. Transition is followed by a process of “pushing,” which lasts until your baby is born.
Hear from two Swedish OBs and find out everything you need to know if you’re planning to get pregnant or just found out you already are!
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One Patient's Story
Amazingly, her twin boys were born three weeks apart.