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Keep Calm and Labor On - Transition

This week, We’re going to talk about the last (but major) part of the first stage of labor. The stage of labor who must not be named - Transition. If you know remotely anything about the stages of labor you’ve heard about transition and it's pretty likely you've heard that it sucks. There is no easy way to put it, it’s tough. BUT, take sweet relief in knowing that hitting this stage means something new - the end is near. Before long, you'll be feeling the urge to push and will be closer than ever to bringing your sweet little babe earth side.

What is transition?

Transition is the last official leg of stage one before entering stage two. During this portion of labor, the cervix dilates from 8 cm to 10 cm. Contractions are now at their toughest point. All that mention of “longer, stronger, closer” has just been taken to a new level. It is not at all uncommon during this phase for contractions to be VERY close together (2-3 minutes apart) and lasting anywhere from 60-90 seconds long. You’re tired. You’re over it. My goodness, you are just ready to call it a day, waddle yourself on home, and *maybe* try again tomorrow. But oh momma, you are about to do it. All of your hard work is nearing fruition.

What can you expect?

So above we talked a little bit about what things are changing within your cervix, but how may things be looking on the outside? What things might you be experiencing during this time other than those non stop contractions? All of the tricks and movements you've loved and that have brought relief prior to this point honestly, may not be working at all now. You are likely needing more grounding and support from your team than ever. You may feel a variety of things during this point - exhaustion, rampant emotions, discouragement, chills, shaking, and lots of sweat are just a few to name. If your water hasn't broken yet, this may be the point where it happens. It is also not totally uncommon for women to become nauseated during this phase, so be sure to have some fancy barf bags handy. The last thing you can expect is P R E S S U R E. All the pressure. It may not be entirely overwhelming at first, but it will continue to get stronger. This is a good thing - it means your baby is coming down! ALMOST THERE. Transition can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, but like with everything else, this varies from woman to woman.

What can you do?

  • Breathing techniques that help anchor and relax you

  • Tub / shower can be a great place to allow your body to relax and rest

  • Changing positions as often as possible (it will likely be hard to want to move or do anything in this phase, BUT it’s important to keep moving this along. Get up right {usually helps with pain in and of itself} and find some positions that help)

  • LOTS of encouragement


  • Continue to stay hydrated

  • Breath the pain out and baby down

  • Relax and release

  • Honestly, just survive; It really is almost over

Your partner: You're likely going to need lots of support to get through this phase. So educating your partner and preparing them for what to expect and how to help BEFORE you're actually in labor is a good idea. Your partner needs to be prepared to be strong and advocate for you when needed. It is a good idea for them to have ALL of the positive words and birth affirmations fired up and ready to go. If counter pressure, massage, or certain tricks were working earlier, it will be great for them to suggest these things to you (but also know that you may say “heck no”, ‘Don’t touch me”, etc). They are going to need to work very hard to keep you grounded and help you find your rhythm. The “Take-Charge Routine” is a great resource for this, check it out here!