Childbirth: the big steps

Childbirth: the big steps

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Your baby will soon be able to point the tip of his nose. While waiting impatiently for your delivery, you wonder how it will happen. Virginie Christin, liberal midwife *, explains the main steps.

Arrival at the maternity ward

  • Most often, you go to the maternity ward either because the water pocket has broken, or because for almost two hours, you feel intense and regular contractions every 5 minutes if it is your 1st child or every 10 minutes from the 2nd child.

Who will you examine?

  • You will be examined by a midwife who will perform various tests through the analysis of your urine. She will take your blood pressure, palpate your uterus to define the position of the baby. It will put you under monitoring, a machine that will record the heart rate of your child and that of your contractions. The midwife will also check with a vaginal touch the stage of dilatation of your cervix.


  • From the moment your cervix is ​​dilated or open to 3 cm, you will enter the first phase of childbirth: work. This is the longest step, since you will have to wait until your neck, under the effect of intense and regular contractions, expands up to 10 cm.
  • For a first child, count an average of 1 cm per hour. If you opt for an epidural delivery, the device allowing this analgesia will be installed between 3 cm and 8 cm of dilatation.

How long does the work take?

  • In order for your cervix to reach full dilatation, you will have to wait about seven hours, to which you will add an hour so that your baby engages in your pelvis. So it will have been about 8 hours between the time you start work and when you start to grow.

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