Labor is different for each woman, but it primarily occurs in three stages. The first stage of labor is known as the latent phase. At this stage, contractions are typically very mild, and are roughly 10 to 20 minutes apart. The woman can often continue to go about her usual activities at this point, and many women use this time to make any last-minute preparations for going to the hospital for the delivery.
At this point in labor, most women will remain at home, as most hospitals won’t admit a woman who is in the first stage of labor, unless there is some emergency. By breathing through the mild contractions, most women find this stage of labor easy to manage without medications.