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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.
Study shows how popular media influences women's choices for childbirth

Study shows how popular media influences women's choices for childbirth

Women's magazines influence whether women decide to have a more natural childbirth or not, with most of the messages biased towards promoting the benefits of medicalised birth. [More]
Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy more likely to have overweight children

Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy more likely to have overweight children

A new study conducted in collaboration between The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Harokopio University has found that when an expecting mother gains more weight than recommended, does not exercise or smokes during pregnancy, the probability that her child will be overweight or obese at the age of eight sharply increases. [More]
Study: Elevated upper body position may improve pregnancy-related obstructive sleep apnea

Study: Elevated upper body position may improve pregnancy-related obstructive sleep apnea

A study published on April 23 in the Online First section of the journal CHEST finds an elevated upper body position might improve respiratory safety in women early after childbirth without impairing sleep quality. [More]
Large majority of people in the world lack access to safe, affordable surgery and anaesthesia

Large majority of people in the world lack access to safe, affordable surgery and anaesthesia

Millions of people are dying from common, easily treatable conditions like appendicitis, fractures, or obstructed labour because they do not have access to, or can't afford, proper surgical care, according to a major new Commission, published in The Lancet. [More]
Actor Stephen McGann explains how issues of medical accuracy were addressed in Call the Midwife drama

Actor Stephen McGann explains how issues of medical accuracy were addressed in Call the Midwife drama

Actor Stephen McGann, who plays GP Dr Patrick Turner in the hit BBC period drama Call the Midwife, has described the steps taken by the writers, production team and actors to ensure the series has sufficient medical accuracy and authenticity. In an essay published today by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, McGann writes of the unique insight that the role of Dr Turner has given him into questions regarding the way popular culture portrays medics and medicine. [More]
New study finds that breastfeeding may help reduce smoking

New study finds that breastfeeding may help reduce smoking

While a large number of women quit or reduce smoking upon pregnancy recognition, many resume smoking postpartum. Previous research has estimated that approximately 70% of women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse within the first year after childbirth, and of those who relapse, 67% resume smoking by three months, and up to 90% by six months. [More]
Uganda Newborn Study explores ways to improve child mortality rates

Uganda Newborn Study explores ways to improve child mortality rates

In Uganda, child mortality rates are improving, but progress is slower for deaths occurring in the first four weeks of life, or the newborn period, and for stillbirths. But recent evidence from local researchers show that a cost-effective package of care linking families, government-mandated village health teams (a form of community health workers), and health facilities can improve life-saving practices during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first weeks of life; and benefit poorest families the most. [More]
Hormone that stimulates milk production in nursing mothers also fosters bond between parents

Hormone that stimulates milk production in nursing mothers also fosters bond between parents

Research has discovered a role for prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production in nursing mothers, in the bond between parents. [More]
Expecting mothers may soon receive perinatal depression screenings using mHealth technology

Expecting mothers may soon receive perinatal depression screenings using mHealth technology

Pregnant women and new mothers at one central Illinois public health clinic will soon receive depression screenings using mobile health - also called mHealth - technology. [More]
Blunted cortisol response common in non-classic CAH

Blunted cortisol response common in non-classic CAH

Nearly two-thirds of children with non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia have an inadequate cortisol response, report researchers. [More]
New study finds no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion

New study finds no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion

Among the facts so widely assumed that they are rarely, if ever studied, is the notion that wider hips make women less efficient when they walk and run. [More]
BU study explores birth outcomes for women who receive fertility treatment

BU study explores birth outcomes for women who receive fertility treatment

Birth outcomes for babies whose mothers used assisted reproductive technology (ART) are better in some cases, and worse in others, than for subfertile women who did not use ART, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers. [More]
Mother's age at childbirth may affect metabolic health of male children

Mother's age at childbirth may affect metabolic health of male children

A mother's age at childbirth may affect her male baby's birth weight as well as his adult glucose metabolism, new research shows. [More]
TOMS Bag Collection launched to address issue of maternal health worldwide

TOMS Bag Collection launched to address issue of maternal health worldwide

TOMS – the company known for starting a global movement through its One for One business model – has launched its fourth and newest product, the TOMS Bag Collection, addressing the issue of maternal health worldwide. [More]
Pelvalon receives FDA approval to market Eclipse System for improving bowel control in women

Pelvalon receives FDA approval to market Eclipse System for improving bowel control in women

Pelvalon announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted the company's de novo request to market the Eclipse System, the first vaginal insert designed to provide bowel control, in the United States. Loss of bowel control, also known as fecal incontinence, is a condition that affects over 20 million women in the U.S. [More]
Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare awards grants to support MIHS programs

Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare awards grants to support MIHS programs

The Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare announced today that it awarded $50,000 in community impact grants to help four programs that support the underserved, including a unique hospital-based domestic violence prevention effort. [More]
Risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful in advanced maternal age

Risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful in advanced maternal age

Many of the risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful when the expectant mother is over 35. [More]
Induced or augmented labor does not increase risk of autism spectrum disorder

Induced or augmented labor does not increase risk of autism spectrum disorder

A research collaboration between Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, and the University of Utah's Psychiatry Department found that induced or augmented labor does not result in an increased risk of children developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). [More]

Induced labor is not associated with Autism spectrum disorder, shows study

In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral pleanary session at 8 a.m. PST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™, in San Diego, researchers will report that induced or augmented labor are not associated with increased odds of Autism spectrum disorder. [More]
Survey results shows meningioma survivors more likely to want and intend to have baby

Survey results shows meningioma survivors more likely to want and intend to have baby

The diagnosis of a brain tumor—even one that's usually "benign" and slow growing such as a meningioma—can be scary. [More]
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