What is Transition?

Transition is the most difficult but shortest phase of the first stage of labor.  Contractions during transition are stronger and longer than earlier contractions, and they serve to finish dilating the cervix.  These transitions will last between 90 seconds and 2 minutes, and they will be two minutes or so apart, leaving you little or no time to relax between contractions.  Transition typically lasts around half an hour, but may be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours. 

During transition, you may feel unable to relax or to get comfortable.  While you may have handled labor well up to this point, it is at this time you are most likely to feel like you have no idea what to do, and that nothing is comfortable anymore.  During this time, it is important for your partner or labor coach to assist you into various positions so that you can find one that is the least uncomfortable.  It is important to try to take one contraction at a time during transition.  Sometimes taking a bath or shower or rocking in a rocking chair may help you cope.

During transition you may have hot flashes.  You may tremble, and may have severe burping or belching.  Your blood pressure may drop as the baby descends.  You may lose your appetite and your modesty during this time as well.

Sometimes as the pressure increases because the baby is moving down, you will feel the need or desire to push, even when the cervix is not completely dilated.  It is important to have someone monitor your cervix while you try a few test pushes, so that you can see if your cervix is dilated or not.

Some things you can do to avoid pushing if you cervix is not ready:

-  Lift your chin in the air

-  Pant loudly

-  Don’t hold your breath

-  Imagine a balloon above your face and try to blow it away from your face.



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