What the heck happens during Transitional Labor?


Transitional Labor 

The final phase, of the first stage of labor. This phase of labor is the shortest in terms of duration however it is the most intense. This phase begins when your cervix is 7 cm dilated, and ends when you are 10 cm dilated.

“Birth may bring you face-to-face with your insecurities, doubts, inadequacies and fears, as well as your joy, determination, willingness and courage. “

The Pink Kit

What’s happening?

  • Your cervix is dilated from about 7cm to 10cm.
  • Contractions are long, strong, and very close together to finish thinning your cervix.
    • Contractions are lasting around 90 seconds, and 2 minutes apart.
    • The contractions must be longer and stronger because they are moving your baby lower in your pelvis.

What to expect:

  • You may continue to feel the chills, with rapid temperature changes–feelings of being hot to feelings of being cold.
  • You may experience bloody discharge, back pain, leg cramps, etc.
  • You may be emotionally and physically exhausted, and may be feeling some self-doubt.
  • You may need to have a bowel movement- which you can have on a toilet. This will help you distinguish between the feeling of having to pass stool, and the pressure from your baby.
  • Resist the urge to push until your care provider can do a vaginal exam to make sure you’re at 10cm.
  • You will continue needing some additional physical support as well as  emotional support.

How to cope/What to do:

  • During the contractions apply counter pressure.
  • Verbal affirmations
  • Face to face and eye to eye breathing together
  • Cold compresses as the contractions end
  • Move your bowels on the toilet- it also helps keep your pelvis open.


Photo: Transition by Adrian Baker


Previous Stages:

Future Stages:

1.Early Labor

4. Pushing Stage of Labor

2. Active Labor

5. Placental Stage of Labor

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