What’s Happening: Birth
Your body shifts from dilating to pushing. The baby makes his way down through the pelvis and birth canal. This phase can last from 15 minutes to several hours. Although it may take several contractions after full dilation to be noticeable, most women get an urge to bear down. Your body is giving you clear instructions on what to do.
The urge to push usually gets stronger as the baby descends. Many women feel more clearheaded and have a renewed sense of optimism when pushing begins. Just before the baby is born, you may feel a burning, stinging, stretching sensation at the vaginal opening: A sure sign that you’re almost there! As the baby’s head emerges, it turns to one side to allow the shoulders to align and then the rest of his body slips outs.