Your cervix during labor

Early labor (1−3 cm dilated)

During this phase of labor you will begin to feel uterine contractions, they may still be mild and infrequent. At this time, your cervix is focusing on softening and shortening and begins to open slightly. 

This can be the longest phase of labor, many women are able to continue light activities or rest between the contractions, however every woman is different.

You could also begin to see a bit of vaginal discharge, which could have a slightly pink color to it.

What to expect during early labor phase


Early labor will last approximately 8 - 12 hours

Your cervix will efface and dilate to 3 cm

Contractions will last about 30-45 seconds, giving you 5-30 minutes of rest between contractions

Contractions are typically mild and irregular but become progressively stronger and more frequent

Contractions can feel like aching in your lower back, menstrual cramps, and pressure/tightening in the pelvic area

Your water might break – this can happen anytime within the first stage of labor

Ask your doctor about Dilapan-S®

Interested in Dilapan-S®? Download a leaflet with product information and show it to your doctor!