Between the first stage of labour and the second stage, there is the transition phase.
Transition is where the baby’s head passes through the 10cm opening in the cervix, and into the vagina. The baby’s head is pressed up against the inside of the cervix all through the first stage, but now the contractions are pushing the baby through the gap, and the bottom of the womb is being stretched out of the way (think of pulling on a roll-neck sweater!) At the end of this transition phase, the baby’s body is still in the womb, while the head is outside of the womb, inside the vagina.
Contractions may be very intense during transition, and then ease off for a short ‘rest’ before the next stage.