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What is Stage 2 of Labor?
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: At the beginning of Stage 2 of labor, which can last from a few minutes to 3 hours, your cervix is fully dilated to 10 centimeters, and your baby's head has moved beyond the cervical opening into your birth canal. During this stage, you will begin to push your baby out. You may instinctively push when you feel the urge, or you may need coaching from your doctor, midwife, or labor nurse as to when to push and when to rest. In a normal delivery, your baby's head will rotate to face your back. During active labor, your uterus is divided into an active segment that contracts, pushing the baby downward, and a flexible passive segment that remains relaxed, stretching to provide more room for the baby to pass through. In some cases, when the top of your baby's head appears or crowns, your doctor may make a small cut called an episiotomy to enlarge the vaginal opening. Then you will continue pushing your baby out. As your baby's head passes through the birth canal, it molds into an elongated shape. An elongated head shape will resolve itself within a few days as the skull bones shift back into place. After your baby's head exits the birth canal, his or her head and shoulders will rotate to help the shoulders pass through the birth canal. Your baby's shoulders are delivered one after the other in order to fit through your pelvis. Once the shoulders emerge, the rest of your baby slides out easily. After your baby is born, his or her umbilical cord will be cut.

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