8 Jul, 2019

Last week, we spoke about the latent phase of labour. The sometimes long, early part, where you may not know if you are coming or going! Once you have progressed from this stage, you enter the active part, there is no going back now, your baby is ready to be born!


The active phase is part of the FIRST stage of labour.

Medically, the active phase is defined as the part where your cervix goes from being 4cm dilated, to 10cm or fully dilated. This is the real deal!

Your surges will most likely be regular in strength, duration and frequency. Generally, a good guide is having 4 surges in 10 minutes, each lasting up to 60 seconds. There can be some deviation from this though, remember, no one is the same!

You may also feel nausea, fatigue and general muscle discomfort. Your waters may release during the active phase, however this isn’t always the case.

Your baby should still be moving – it is a common myth that babies stop moving towards the end of pregnancy and in labour.

Please contact your maternity triage if you ever have any concerns about your baby’s movements or think you may be in labour.


We would hope that you will enter active labour when your pregnancy is classed as ‘full term’, from 37 to 42 weeks.

It is different for every woman.

For a first-time mum, active labour can generally last up to 10-12 hours upwards and for subsequent births, approximately 8 hours. However this can be different for everyone. However, you know your body best. Some babies just don’t want to wait (especially if it is your 2nd!)


If you are not having your baby at home then it would be advisable to make your way to your intended place of birth when you feel you are entering active labour. You should call your maternity triage, who will recommend what you should do.


As with the latent phase, the more relaxed you are, the more efficiently your body will work.

This means, you should continue to do all the things that make you feel happy, comfortable and calm. It is still important that you are hydrated, nourished and active.

There are several clinical assessments that you may be offered during active labour, including vaginal examinations, monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and checking your blood pressure, pulse and temperature.

There are many options to help you stay as comfortable as possible, you may like to use the pool, massage, breathing techniques and remaining active, to improve your comfort, all of these and more will be taught in your hypnobirthing class . Sometimes a woman may choose one of the medications on offer such as gas and air, pethidine, diamorphine and epidural. as will all of the options open to you they key is being informed of the pro’s and con’s so you can make the best choice for you and your baby.

Ensure that you are emptying your bladder regularly as a full bladder can reduce the number of surges you have and ultimately, we need surges!

So, put on your relaxation MP3s, practice your breathing techniques and tell yourself all the positive affirmations. You will rock this!

If you have any questions about the active phase, then get in touch and if you want to learn more about hypnobirthing, visit the website to find your local instructor! ????

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