What’s Happening: Early Labor (Latent Phase)
The cervix continues to thin out and open, dilating to 3 or 4 centimeters. Labor is meant to be gradual, so this phase may take quite a while—usually about two-thirds of the total labor time. Over a period of several hours, contractions will become longer, stronger and more regular (about 5 minutes apart, each one lasting 25 to 45 seconds — but these times can vary). A pinkish vaginal discharge (called “show”) usually increases as labor progresses.