Chapter 11: Opening – stage 1 of labor
Labor patterns in stage 1
Labors can follow many different patterns:
• Some labors start with weak contractions and get strong slowly and steadily
over several hours.
• Some labors start slowly and suddenly speed up.
• Some labors start strong, then get weaker or even seem to stop, and then
become strong again.
• Some labors follow other patterns.
All these labors are OK as long as they get strong enough to open the cervix
When you first arrive
When you arrive at a birth ask the mother
how she is feeling. Make sure the birth area is
clean and arrange your supplies. All the tools
for the birth, and anything that will cut the
skin, should be sterilized.
Talk to the woman and her family to be
sure they can still get to medical help in an emergency.
Wash your hands well for 3 minutes (see page 53) and ask anyone who may
touch your tools, the mother’s genitals, or the baby to wash their hands in the
Note: Clean hands do not stay
clean for long. If you touch
anything other than the
mother’s genitals, you must
The mother should bathe too.
If possible, she should wash her
genitals, hands, and body at the
beginning of labor.
Wash your hands and change
your gloves after touching
stool or anything else.
Talk to the woman and her family about what may happen during labor, and
answer any questions they have. Choose a family member who can help in an
emergency, and explain to that person what kind of help you might need.
A Book for Midwives (2010)