Stages of labor and birth: Baby, it’s time!

Labor is a natural process. Here’s what to expect during the three stages of labor and birth — and what you can do to promote comfort.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Labor is a unique experience. Sometimes it’s over in a matter of hours. In other cases, labor tests a mother’s physical and emotional stamina.

You won’t know how labor and childbirth will unfold until it happens. However, you can prepare by understanding the typical sequence of events.

Stage 1: Early labor and active labor