Different Components and Phases of Labor

Various Components and Phases of Labor

Definition of Normal Labour:

Normal labour is the physiological process of spontaneous uncomplicated and not delayed expulsion per vaginal of mature fetus with vertex presenting following by after births of umbilical cord, placenta and membranes.

Normal labour is one which fulfills the following criteria:

  • The labour is started spontaneously at term (37 – 42 completed weeks).
  • Foetus is vertex presentation.
  • Without undue prolongation.
  • Natural termination without any aid or with minimal aid (episiotomy).
  • Without any complication affecting the health of the mother and or the baby.


Different phases of labor
Fig: Different phases of labor

WHO definition of normal labour,

“Spontaneous in onset, low-risk at the start of labour and remaining so throughout labour and delivery. The infant is bon spontaneously in the vertex position between 37 and 42 completed weeks of pregnancy. After birth, mother and infant are in good condition.”

Components of Normal Labour:

All the components of normal labour are-

  • Head engagement,
  • Descent of the head,
  • Flexion of the head,
  • Internal rotation,
  • Crowing,
  • Extension,
  • Restitution,
  • External rotation,
  • Birth of the shoulder and trunk.

Different Phases of Labor:

1. Phase-1: Early (Latent) Labor:

The first of the three stages of labor is usually the longest, but thankfully it’s also the least intense, by far. During early labor, following labor signs appear:

  • Backache (constant or with each contraction),
  • Menstrual-like cramps,
  • Lower abdominal pressure,
  • Indigestion,
  • Diarrhea,
  • A sensation of warmth in the abdomen,
  • Blood-tinged mucous discharge,
  • Rupture of the amniotic membranes.

2. Phase-2: Active Labor:

The active phase of labor usually lasts from two to three-and-a-half hours (with a wide range of what’s considered normal) as cervix dilates to 7 centimeters,

During active phase of labor, following labor signs appear:

  • Increasing pain and discomfort with contractions,
  • Increasing backache,
  • Leg discomfort or heaviness,
  • Fatigue,
  • Increasing bloody show,
  • Rupture of the membranes.

3. Phase-3: Transitional (Advanced) Labor:

During transitional labor -the last, most intensive phase of labor, cervix will dilate from 7 to its final 10 centimeters. Fortunately it’s also the shortest, generally lasting from 15 minutes to an hour (though it can sometimes take up to three hours).

During transitional labor, following labor signs appear:

  • Strong pressure in the lower back and/or perineum,
  • Rectal pressure, with or without an urge to push,
  • An increase in bloody show as capillaries in the cervix rupture,
  • Feeling very warm and sweaty or chilled and shaky,
  • Crampy legs that may tremble uncontrollably,
  • Nausea and/or vomiting,
  • Drowsiness between contractions,
  • A tightening sensation in your throat or chest,
  • Fatigue or exhaustion.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What is normal labour?
  2. What are the components of normal labour?
  3. Enumerate the phases of labour.
  4. List the different phases of labour.
  5. What is latent phase of labour?
  6. What is active phase of labour?

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