Labor is a marathon: here are its numbers

How long does labor last

Imagine labor as a marathon. It begins with a contraction and then another and another followed at an ever closer distance. The frequency, duration and intensity of contractions increase during labor: 30/45 seconds every 5-30 minutes up to 3 cm of dilation, 40/70 seconds every 3-minutes up to 7 cm and finally 45/90 seconds every 2-3 minutes.

A long crescendo march to get to the baby's first cry.

Here is a list of key-numbers that characterize labor.

40 weeks is the duration of pregnancy. The expected date of delivery is set this week (which is calculated, for example, by adding 7 days and subtracting 3 months from the date of the last menstruation)

One centimeter per hour is the average rate of dilation of the cervix. But this is a fact that can vary depending on the woman and pregnancy

When the dilation reaches 10 cm is complete and the cervix is ​​fully open, ready for the baby to come out.


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Labor lasts between 6 and 12 hours on average. But this too is a very variable datum that depends on numerous factors. First-time mothers may have to go through longer labor while others will take much less time to give birth to their baby. Impossible to make an accurate forecast.

32-36 centimeters
It is the circumference of the newborn's skull. This head must pass through the 10 centimeters of the dilated cervix. How is it possible? because the uterine tissues are elastic and very flexible and stretchable

At birth, you will lose approximately 200ml of blood. If the woman loses more than 500ml of blood it is referred to as postpartum haemorrhage, a serious complication of childbirth.

3 of 100
The chances are that the baby will be born after the expected date of delivery. Generally, at the end of the set term, you wait a few days, carefully monitoring the baby, before moving on to induced labor.

Read also: Labor seen by women

The amount of amniotic fluid at birth it is 800 ml on average, easy to confuse the loss of amniotic fluid with a loss of urine.

It is the maximum score of theApgar index, a test that is performed after 1,5 and 10 minutes of life to check the state of health and vitality of the newborn. Heart rate, respiration, muscle tone, skin color and reactivity are five parameters examined to evaluate the Apgar Index.

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