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When you are ready to have your baby, you'll go through labor. Contractions let you know labor is starting. When contractions are five minutes apart, your body is ready to push the baby out.

During the first stage of labor, your cervix slowly opens, or dilates, to about 4 inches wide. At the same time, it becomes thinner. This is called effacement. You shouldn't push until your uterus is fully effaced and dilated. When it is, the baby delivery stage starts. Crowning is when your baby's scalp comes into view. Shortly afterward, your baby is born. The placenta that nourished the baby follows.

Mothers and babies are monitored closely during labor. Most women are healthy enough to have a baby through normal vaginal delivery, meaning that the baby comes down the birth canal without surgery. If there are complications, the baby may need to be delivered surgically by a Cesarean section.
International organizations join forces to develop inhaled form of oxytocin for postpartum hemorrhage

International organizations join forces to develop inhaled form of oxytocin for postpartum hemorrhage

An international group of public and private organizations is collaborating to accelerate development of an innovative heat-stable and low-cost inhaled form of oxytocin to manage postpartum hemorrhage in resource-poor settings. [More]
Epidurals and reduced postpartum depression: an interview with Dr. Zakowski

Epidurals and reduced postpartum depression: an interview with Dr. Zakowski

The “maternity blues”, which resolve within 10 days of giving birth, occurs in up to 80% of new moms. A major depressive episode, by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria, is defined as having at least a 2-week period of persistent depressed mood ... [More]
Longer looks: Lithium in the water; controlling cancer; recovering from brain injury

Longer looks: Lithium in the water; controlling cancer; recovering from brain injury

There are many kinds of cancer, but treatments have typically combatted them in one way only: by attempting to destroy the cancerous cells. Surgery aims to remove the entire growth from the body; chemotherapy drugs are toxic to the cancer cells; radiation generates toxic molecules that break up the cancer cells' DNA and proteins, causing their demise. [More]
Warwick researchers discover novel drug target for treating postpartum haemorrhage

Warwick researchers discover novel drug target for treating postpartum haemorrhage

Researchers at the University of Warwick have discovered a new target for drugs that could prevent the deaths of thousands of women in the developing world due to heavy blood loss after childbirth. [More]
Gene variants linked to overactive bladder and prolapse in women

Gene variants linked to overactive bladder and prolapse in women

A systematic review and meta-analysis of genetic association studies reveals a number of genetic variations associated with overactive bladder and pelvic organ prolapse in women. [More]
Researchers examine China's caesarean section rate

Researchers examine China's caesarean section rate

Efforts must be made to decrease China's increasing caesarean section rate, suggests a new commentary published today (20 August) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG). [More]
Experts to debate healthy labor and delivery practices at Cedars-Sinai Birth Community Day

Experts to debate healthy labor and delivery practices at Cedars-Sinai Birth Community Day

Doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas will debate healthy labor and delivery practices - including the use of the synthetic hormone Pitocin to hasten childbirth and vitamin K to speed blood clotting in newborns -- at the third annual Cedars-Sinai Birth Community Day, Aug. 14. [More]
Severe pain during and post delivery linked to postpartum depression

Severe pain during and post delivery linked to postpartum depression

Controlling pain during childbirth and post delivery may reduce the risk of postpartum depression, writes Katherine Wisner, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine- perinatal psychiatrist, in a July 23 editorial in Anesthesia & Analgesia. [More]
Knowledge Analyzer available at Zynx Health

Knowledge Analyzer available at Zynx Health

Zynx Health™, the market leader in providing evidence- and experience-based clinical improvement solutions, has announced the general availability of Knowledge Analyzer™, a scalable solution that helps organizations quickly realize the full value of electronic health record (EHR) systems. [More]
Nocturia affects one in three premenopausal women

Nocturia affects one in three premenopausal women

Nocturia affects around one-third of women of reproductive age, a survey has found, highlighting that the condition is not confined to elderly individuals. [More]
Mode of delivery in subsequent pregnancies and recurrence of severe perineal tears

Mode of delivery in subsequent pregnancies and recurrence of severe perineal tears

There is an increased risk of severe perineal tearing during childbirth in women who had such a tear in a previous delivery, suggests a new study published today (9 July) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG). [More]
Long waits for medical attention are normal in many parts of U.S.

Long waits for medical attention are normal in many parts of U.S.

The New York Times reports on what it calls the health care system's "waiting game." [More]
Global forum calls for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child health

Global forum calls for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child health

More than 800 leaders and public health experts from around the world opened a landmark two-day meeting in Johannesburg to review new data and call for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child health. [More]
WHO recommends women's groups to improve maternal and newborn health

WHO recommends women's groups to improve maternal and newborn health

The World Health Organisation has recommended an intervention developed and tested by partners in four countries and UCL researchers to improve maternal and newborn health. [More]
Women who give birth later in life tend to live longer

Women who give birth later in life tend to live longer

Women who are able to naturally have children later in life tend to live longer and the genetic variants that allow them to do so might also facilitate exceptionally long life spans. [More]
Nearly 4% of U.S. babies are born before full-term without medical indication, study finds

Nearly 4% of U.S. babies are born before full-term without medical indication, study finds

A large new study, covering millions of U.S. births over 15 years, finds that substantial numbers of babies, nearly one in 25, are born earlier than medically justified, through elective cesarean sections and elective induced labor. The study reinforces long-standing recommendations by professional medical and public health organizations against early-term deliveries without appropriate medical reasons. [More]
Viewpoints: Concerns about ACOs; problems in Va. gov.'s strategy; Medicaid 'black hole'

Viewpoints: Concerns about ACOs; problems in Va. gov.'s strategy; Medicaid 'black hole'

Although Obamacare's health insurance expansion has directly provided coverage to only about 4 percent of Americans, changes embedded in the Affordable Care Act could affect many more people, and not always in good ways. [More]
Longer looks: Caregivers effort to stay well; patients who turn to religion for cures; new views on postpartum depression

Longer looks: Caregivers effort to stay well; patients who turn to religion for cures; new views on postpartum depression

More than 65 million people, or 29 percent of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family members or friends during any given year, and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing that care. [More]
State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

Alexian Brothers Health System is suspending its effort to launch a new Medicaid program, blaming the difficulty of connecting physicians using different electronic records systems. The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based health system was spearheading a so-called accountable care entity (ACE) to coordinate the care of about 46,000 patients on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. The ACEs are a form of managed care, one of Gov. Pat Quinn's initiatives to focus on preventative treatment to keep patients healthy and reduce health care costs (Schorsch, 6/17). [More]
Special issue explores trends related to unmet need for contraception

Special issue explores trends related to unmet need for contraception

Studies in Family Planning, a leading journal published by the Population Council, released "Unmet Need for Family Planning"-a special issue featuring ten articles, including a comprehensive introduction to the topic of unmet need. [More]