Did You Know ?

For women delivering for the first time:

  • The average rate of cervical dilation is three centimeters per hour.
  • Rates less than 1.2 centimeters per hour are considered prolonged.
  • The average length of time for the cervix to dilate completely is 9.7 hours.
  • Durations longer than 24.7 hours are considered prolonged.

For women who have previously delivered:

  • The average rate of cervical dilation is 3.7 centimeters per hour.
  • Rates less than 1.5 centimeters per hour are considered prolonged.
  • The average length of time for the cervix to dilate completely is eight hours.
  • Durations longer than 18.8 hours are considered prolonged.

Women delivering for the first time:

  • Spend an average of about 6.4 hours in the latent phase; and
  • May spend up to 20.6 hours.

Women with previous vaginal deliveries:

  • Spend an average of 4.8 hours in the latent phase; and
  • May spend as long as 14 hours.

For women delivering for the first time, the second stage:

  • Lasts an average of 33 minutes;
  • Is considered prolonged if it lasts longer than two hours or three hours if an epidural is in place.

For women with previous vaginal deliveries, the second stage:

  • Lasts only 8.5 minutes on average;
  • Is considered prolonged if it lasts longer than an hour or two hours if an epidural is in place.

First Stage

The first stage of labor is defined as the interval between the onset of labor and complete dilation of the cervix. This stage is further subdivided into three phases: latent, acceleration, and deceleration. The acceleration and deceleration phases are sometimes combined and called the active phase.

Taking care of yourself is essential throughout your pregnancy and is different during each of the three trimesters. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and sleep are some of the most beneficial steps you can take toward a successful pregnancy. The rest of this HealthMap gives you tips on adjusting your diet and exercise regimen during the first trimester of pregnancy, along with discussing some of the common physical discomforts of the first trimester and ways to find relief. Complications that can occur during the first trimester, such as miscarriage, hyperemesis gravidarum, ectopic pregnancy, and molar pregnancy, are also discussed, along with the warning signs.