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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.

IMA World Health offers Safe Motherhood Kits this Mother's Day

Every minute, a woman dies of complications from pregnancy or childbirth and many more suffer infection or injury. [More]

Delayed umbilical cord clamping is effective even when newborn is placed on mother's abdomen

A recent study has shown that a newborn benefits from delayed cord clamping even when placed immediately on the mother's abdomen. [More]
Scientists to combine environmental, surveillance data to predict malaria outbreaks in Ethiopia

Scientists to combine environmental, surveillance data to predict malaria outbreaks in Ethiopia

Dealing with malaria is a fact of life for more than 91 million Ethiopians. Each year four to five million contract malaria, one of the biggest health problems in this poor country. [More]

Study: Domestic abuse closely linked to postpartum mental health problems in mothers

A new study shows that domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in mothers. The research also found that specific types of abuse are associated with specific mental health problems. [More]
Majority of Albertans endorse perinatal mental health screening

Majority of Albertans endorse perinatal mental health screening

After struggling with anxiety and depression since her teens, Lana Berry hit bottom at age 26. Divorced, unemployed and back living with her parents, she found herself in a dark place-"as sick as I'd ever been." [More]
RFS introduces RF Assure Delivery System for improving birth safety at 2014 AORN national meeting

RFS introduces RF Assure Delivery System for improving birth safety at 2014 AORN national meeting

RF Surgical Systems Inc., the market leader in retained surgical item detection, debuted the RF Assure Delivery System for improving birth safety this week at the 2014 AORN national meeting of perioperative nurses in Chicago. The new system is specifically designed to prevent retained surgical sponges that are used during labor and delivery. [More]
Breast lift procedures growing at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries

Breast lift procedures growing at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries

New statistics released today by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that breast lift procedures are growing at twice the rate of breast implant surgeries. Since 2000, breast lifts have grown by 70 percent, outpacing implants two-to-one. Breast implants are still by far the most performed cosmetic surgery in women, but lifts are steadily gaining. In 2013, more than 90,000 breast lift procedures were performed by ASPS member surgeons. [More]
Review examining effects of public smoking ban finds large drops in pre-term births and child hospital visits for asthma

Review examining effects of public smoking ban finds large drops in pre-term births and child hospital visits for asthma

The introduction of laws banning smoking in public places and workplaces in North America and Europe has had a positive impact on child health. [More]
Bloomberg Philanthropies introduces multi-faceted $50M reproductive health program for women

Bloomberg Philanthropies introduces multi-faceted $50M reproductive health program for women

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the launch of a multi-faceted $50 million reproductive health program to prevent maternal deaths and help more women freely and safely make decisions about when to have children. [More]
Highlights: N.Y. veterans' benefits; Ga. rural hospital deal; Ga. anti-Obamacare bill

Highlights: N.Y. veterans' benefits; Ga. rural hospital deal; Ga. anti-Obamacare bill

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota and Colorado. [More]

Cardiac arrest during childbirth may be 2 times more common than previously reported

Although cardiac arrest during childbirth is rare, it may be two times more common than previously reported in the literature, suggests the first large U.S. study on the potentially deadly condition published in the April issue of Anesthesiology. [More]
State highlights: Wash. state cost and quality bills; Okla. privatized Medicaid; Fla. malpractice law overturned

State highlights: Wash. state cost and quality bills; Okla. privatized Medicaid; Fla. malpractice law overturned

... [More]

Risk, pregnancy and childbirth

New research published in a special issue of Health, Risk & Society looks at perceptions of risk around pregnancy and how this influences decisions about where to give birth. Despite childbirth in the UK being increasingly considered safe, the article by Kirstie Coxon and colleagues show that childbirth is still seen as 'risky'. [More]
Experimental drugs offer hope for people with hepatitis C

Experimental drugs offer hope for people with hepatitis C

Patrizia Cazzaniga had heard the horror stories about early treatments for hepatitis C - multiple daily pills and weekly shots for up to a year, side effects that could be debilitating, and a cure rate of only about 40 percent. [More]

Women with vaginal prolapse are most likely to benefit from vaginal mesh surgery

Certain women with vaginal prolapse are most likely to benefit from undergoing vaginal mesh surgery, a technique that has become controversial and is the focus of numerous lawsuits. [More]

WHO launches new guidance to help countries provide contraception information and services

In advance of International Women's Day on 8 March 2014, WHO is launching new guidance to help countries ensure human rights are respected in providing more girls, women, and couples with the information and services they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. [More]
States: N.C.'s Medicaid managed care proposal; narrow provider networks; Planned Parenthood's big plan

States: N.C.'s Medicaid managed care proposal; narrow provider networks; Planned Parenthood's big plan

Gov. Pat McCrory's health agency is backing away from initial proposals to fix Medicaid costs by hiring a handful of big managed care organizations to run North Carolina's $13 billion health care system. The state Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday presented its framework for revamping Medicaid to an advisory group set up by McCrory (Dalesio, 2/26). [More]
First Edition: February 27, 2014

First Edition: February 27, 2014

Today's headlines include a number of stories about Obama past and present administration officials -- notably, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden -- who are stepping up to "sell" people on enrolling in new health law insurance coverage. [More]
Study raises concerns about use of acetaminophen during pregnancy

Study raises concerns about use of acetaminophen during pregnancy

Acetaminophen, found in over-the-counter products such as Excedrin and Tylenol, provides many people with relief from headaches and sore muscles. When used appropriately, it is considered mostly harmless. Over recent decades, the drug, which has been marketed since the 1950s, has become the medication most commonly used by pregnant women for fevers and pain. [More]
ACOG’s consensus statement on preventing first-time cesareans

ACOG’s consensus statement on preventing first-time cesareans

Today's release of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' (ACOG) consensus statement on preventing first-time cesareans is an important step in closing gaps between evidence and the day-to-day care that women receive in pregnancy and labor. [More]