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Early labor

After the membranes rupture and the water breaks, a woman may begin to experience the First Phase of labor, or Early labor. The average time of early labor is extremely variable, lasting anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. In rare cases, it can last up to 24 hours. During this time, the pressure of repeated regular contractions causes the cervix, which had been closed when labor began, to open up to a diameter of 3 centimeters, and at the same time, become much thinner. Various techniques can be used to help alleviate the discomfort a woman may experience during the first phase of labor such as back-rubs and breathing exercises.

Early labor

Review Date: 6/30/2020

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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