Stages of Childbirth
Birth itself takes place in three stages: cervical effacement and dilation, expulsion of the fetus, and expulsion of the placenta. The beginning of birth is usually marked by an expulsion of the mucus plug from the cervix. This plug protects the fetus from any harmful bacteria that might enter the vagina during pregnancy. Sometimes women experience “false labor,” in which contractions are irregular and do not dilate the cervix. In “real labor,” contractions will be regular and get closer together over time. In a typical birth process, the process is divided into three stages.