What is the second stage of labour?

This is timed from confirmation that the cervix is fully dilated to the complete delivery of your baby. First time around it takes 1-2 hours and is then quicker in future deliveries. The first part of the second stage is ''passive'' and happens when the cervix is fully dilated, but the baby''s head is still not quite low enough to deliver easily. Pushing is discouraged as the baby will descend on its own and you may get exhausted unnecessarily. The active phase occurs when instead of breathing through the contraction, you hold your breath and push as hard as you can for as long as you can, thus encouraging the baby to make its way through the birth canal. This takes time and effort on your part. The active second stage should not normally last more than about one to one and a half hours.
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