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The First Stage

Category: Obstetrics or Midwifery

The first stage varies greatly in different women. The
average duration of this stage is from ten to fourteen hours in the woman
with the first child, and six to eight hours in the woman who has borne
children. During this stage the woman prefers to remain on her feet, sit,
stand or walk about. The amount of pain experienced varies greatly,
according to the temperament of the patient; in nervous women it may be
excessive. The pains now have nothing of that bearing down character which
they afterward acquire; they are described as "grinding," are usually felt
in the front. The genitals become bathed with secretions, which are
sometimes tinged with blood. This is an especially trying period to a
young wife, for she cannot see that the pains are doing any good, only
making her restless, tired and nervous. Little can be done by the
physician in this stage except to encourage and explain what is really
being accomplished by these seemingly futile pains and by tact and proper
encouragement, a physician tides this stage over and gives great comfort
to the needy patient. This stage ends with the opening and dilation of the
mouth of the womb and the second or expulsive stage sets in, with pains
altered in character.

Next: Second Stage


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