What Is Labor Down?

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Childbirth is a remarkable journey, filled with various stages and transitions. One crucial phase during labor is known as “labor down,” also referred to as the second stage of labor. This stage marks the transition from active labor to the pushing stage, where the birthing person actively works to bring their baby into the world. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of labor down, its significance, and what to expect during this pivotal stage of childbirth.

What Is Labor Down?

Labor down, or the second stage of labor, begins when the cervix is fully dilated (10 centimeters) and ends with the birth of the baby. It follows the initial phase of labor where contractions help the cervix dilate and efface. During labor down, the birthing person experiences powerful contractions and an intense urge to push, signaling the body’s readiness to deliver the baby.

Signs And Sensations

  1. Urge to Push: One of the primary indications of labor down is a strong urge to push. The birthing person may feel an intense pressure in their pelvis and lower abdomen, prompting them to bear down and push with each contraction.
  2. Increased Intensity: Contractions during labor down are typically more intense and frequent than those experienced during the earlier stages of labor. They may last longer and feel stronger, as the body actively works to guide the baby through the birth canal.
  3. Pelvic Pressure: As the baby descends through the birth canal, there is a notable sensation of pressure in the pelvis and rectal area. This pressure can be intense but is a natural part of the birthing process.

The Role Of Pushing

During labor down, pushing plays a vital role in helping the baby move through the birth canal. The birthing person actively participates by using their abdominal muscles and bearing down during contractions. Pushing helps propel the baby’s head and body downward, assisting in the process of delivery.

Assistance And Guidance

The healthcare team, including midwives or doctors, provides guidance and support during labor down. They may offer instructions on effective pushing techniques, provide encouragement, and monitor the baby’s progress and the birthing person’s well-being. The healthcare provider will be present to ensure a safe and controlled delivery, offering assistance if necessary.

Duration Of Labor Down

The duration of labor down varies for each individual and birth experience. Some people may progress quickly through this stage, while others may take more time. Factors such as the position of the baby, the size of the pelvis, and the strength of contractions can influence the length of labor down. It’s important to remember that each birth is unique, and the healthcare team will guide and support the birthing person throughout the process.

The Arrival Of Your Baby

As labor down progresses, the culmination of your efforts approaches—the birth of your baby. With each push, the baby moves closer to being born. Once the baby’s head emerges, a moment of anticipation and excitement fills the room. In subsequent pushes, the rest of the baby’s body is delivered, marking the completion of labor down and the start of the third stage of labor, which involves the delivery of the placenta.


Labor down, or the second stage of labor, is an intense and transformative phase in childbirth. It represents the moment when the birthing person actively pushes to bring their baby into the world. With the guidance and support of healthcare professionals, the birthing person harnesses their strength and determination to facilitate the safe and joyous arrival of their child. Understanding the process and being prepared can empower individuals as they navigate through this remarkable stage of childbirth.

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What Does It Mean When Labor Is Down?

Laboring down is allowing this fetal ejection reflex to push your baby down for you, even after you’ve reached 10cm.

What Is Laboring Down With Epidural?

The best practice for pushing with an epidural is called laboring down. This means that you won’t push, even when you are completely dilated until your baby is very low in your pelvis. This can help lower the cesarean rate and also saves you from maternal exhaustion. Let your body do the work, you can help at the end.

How Long Can A Patient Labor Down?

First-time moms may push for 1-3 hours, or it could be 10-20 minutes. And because it’s impossible to predict the amount of time you’ll spend pushing, laboring down is an effective way to help you conserve energy by reducing the amount of time spent actively pushing.

Does Laboring Down Increase Risk For Hemorrhage?

Specifically, a longer second stage of labor has been associated with an increase in the risks of maternal hemorrhage, infection, severe perineal laceration, as well as neonatal acidemia and neonatal intensive care unit admission.


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