During the dilation phase, the uterine wall pulls the cervix upwards, thereby shortening it until it disappears completely. At the same time, the cervix opens until is 8-10 centimetres wide.
Firstly, early contractions will set in. These occur at intervals of more than 5 minutes. The contractions are relatively brief (30-40 seconds) and are moderately painful. You still have no trouble talking with ease during this stage.
In the active phase, the cervix dilates from 3-4 cm to 8-10 cm. The contractions are now more painful. It is barely possible to talk now, as you need to concentrate on breathing. The contractions usually come every 3-4 minutes and last around 60-90 seconds.