Chapter 10: Giving good care in labor and birth
Labor contractions push the baby down and pull the cervix open.
• Contractions push the baby’s head
down hard against the cervix. This
helps to open the cervix, and moves
the baby toward the opening
of the vagina.
• Contractions slowly pull the cervix
open. Each time the womb contracts,
it pulls a little bit of the cervix up and
open. Between contractions, the cervix
relaxes. This continues until the cervix
is completely open, and the baby can
fit through the opening and be born.
baby down . . .
and pull the
A mother’s contractions must get very strong to open the cervix completely.
The tiny hole must open to about 10 centimeters (4 inches) across —
wide enough for the baby to fit through.
The hole in the cervix is this
size during pregnancy.
The hole must get
this big for the
baby to be born!
After the cervix is open all the way, contractions move the baby out of the womb
and down the vagina. The mother pushes to help move the baby out. This is called
stage 2. For more about stage 2, see Chapter 12, “Pushing.”
A Book for Midwives (2010)