Congratulations! You’ve made it through early labour and active labour, and now, things are getting very, very real. If you haven’t gotten one yet, this is probably the time you might really start wanting an epidural. Transition labour is the phase just before you start pushing, but to help guide you through it, here are some questions you might want answered.
What is transition labour?
Transition labour is the last phase (and the most difficult one) of labour. Thankfully, it’s also the shortest phase where your cervix will dilate from 7cm to 10cm (complete) and it’ll be 100% effaced. Contractions will be 2-3 minutes apart with each one lasting between 60 and 90 seconds.
How long does it last?
Transition is the shortest phase of labour and generally lasts about half an hour but can stretch out to 3 hours.
How do I make it through this phase?
Get in the water
Water is like Mother Nature’s epidural. Even if you’ve planned a hospital birth, you can still be in the water during the transition. You just can’t be in the water while you’re pushing. Water will help relax your muscles, enabling your body to open up and push your baby further down into your pelvis to get ready for pushing.
Focus on your breathing
Your breathing is one of the most important things to focus on during the transition. Slow down your breathing. Relax your jaw. Take in a big inhale and let out a long exhale. The less tense you are, the better.
Moving during the transition phase can be exhausting, but the more you move to help open your pelvis, the faster the phase goes by. The hands-and-knees position removes pressure from your back and allows your support person to massage you and put a warm compress on your lower back.
Let it go
The quickest and easiest way through labour is just to let go and follow the lead your body sets. Everything in labour is beyond your control and you have to surrender to all the sensations. You need to accept and work with the urges that are bringing your baby into this world.