During the first stage of labor,
contractions of the uterus help your cervix thin (efface). They also help it widen
(dilate). This will help your baby pass through the vagina (birth canal). At first
contractions won't come that often or last that long. But as time passes, they will
more often, they may be more painful, and they will last longer. They will last about
30 to 60
seconds each. The first stage of labor lasts until the cervix is fully dilated.