Your cervix during labour

Early labour (1−3 cm dilated)

Belly of a pregnant woman and her hands

During this phase of labour 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 labour, 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 labour phase


Blueberry and cherry

Early labour 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 labour

Ikona, question mark

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