Second stage of labour
The baby manoeuvres itself through the pelvis by rotating and slowly appearing from the birth canal. Most women become very focused and clearheaded. The contractions feel very different.
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Delivery/the birth


  • Starts when the cervix is fully dilated (10 cm) and may coincide with the mother’s urge to bear down.
  • If the cervix is fully dilated and the head is not yet pressing on the pelvic floor an urge to bear down will not yet be felt. A waiting period of up to two hours can be allowed for the head to descend behind the pelvic bones. During this time the same principle applies as during the transition period.
  • Once an urge to bear down is felt and bearing down efforts allowed, the baby will be born within the next 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Mother becomes aware of a stretching or burning sensation in her perineum when the baby’s head starts to appear from the birth canal.
  • The baby’s head is gradually pushed out of the birth canal.
  • The urge to bear down is due to pressure on the rectum and feels as though you need to have a bowel movement.

Contractions are:

  • Strong
  • 40-60 minutes long
  • 2-5 minutes apart

Appropriatetechniques to use:

  • Pushing

Mother's reaction:

  • More aware.
  • Usually feels an incredible urge to push and is encouraged that the end is near.

Mother should do thefollowing:

  • Relax her pelvic floor.
  • Adopt a more upright position - especially if progress is slow.
  • Keep her eyes open and concentrate on pushing hard when advised to and stopping the urge to push when necessary.

Father/birth partnercan do the following to help:

  • Support the head and shoulders when the partner bears down.
  • Encourage her.
  • Make sure her position is a good one.
  • Stand beside her shoulder in the delivery room coaching her pushing.
More about the stages of labour:

The first stage
The third stage

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