Transition in labour - The baby is coming!

Many women can remember the point at which they were in the transition stage. It often comes in the form of "I can't do it anymore, cut this baby out of me now!" Or "I know I said I didn't want an epidural but I need it!"
Transition is the term used to mark the point at which the first stage of labour ends ( all the contractions that got you to fully dilated) and the second stage begins. The second stage starts when you are fully dilated approx 10cm and ends with the birth of the baby.
During transition your body releases adrenaline to keep you alert, but it's important not to release too much which is why a calm birthing environment is so important. As the adrenaline increases, you become more aware of the intensity of the contractions as the baby starts to descend down the birth canal. 
At this point many women just want to give up on labour and go home!
For other women though, transition is actually unremarkable, especially if they have remained focused and calm throughout their labour.
In straight forward labours where there are no complications and both mother and baby are in an optimal position, transition can last up to an hour before the uncontrollable urge to push takes over.
In low risk labours where there are no complications, problems with the baby's heart rate or epidurals, it's best to wait until that urge is felt before pushing. Often your body takes over and knows exactly what to do. If you are coached into pushing before there is an urge and don't have an epidural in, it might take a lot longer o birth the baby as the head is probably still too high. I will discuss the second stage and pushing more in another post!