Methodist Health System Services

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Signs and Stages of Labor

When will it start, how long will it last, and what is it like?

Labor usually starts two weeks before or after the estimated date of delivery.

Signs and Stages of Labor

Each labor experience is different and the amount of time in each stage will vary. However, labor in a first pregnancy usually lasts about 12 to 14 hours. Labor is generally shorter for subsequent pregnancies. Labor is divided into three stages.

Vaginal Delivery

Episiotomy

A surgical procedure sometimes used to help delivery the baby and prevent tearing of mother's tissues.

Cesarean Delivery

For the safety of mother and baby, medical conditions sometimes require a surgical delivery.