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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.
UChicago opens new Family Birth Center inside Comer Children's Hospital

UChicago opens new Family Birth Center inside Comer Children's Hospital

The University of Chicago Medicine is opening its new 25,000-square foot Family Birth Center inside Comer Children's Hospital, bringing a more customizable birth experience to women on the South Side and south suburbs. [More]
Social, emotional factors may raise risk of postpartum depression in mothers of preterm infants

Social, emotional factors may raise risk of postpartum depression in mothers of preterm infants

Postpartum depression is the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting up to 15 percent of all women within the first three months following delivery. [More]
Induced deliveries following rupture of amniotic sac pose no increased risk to health of mother and infants

Induced deliveries following rupture of amniotic sac pose no increased risk to health of mother and infants

A new Tel Aviv University study has determined that natural, spontaneous deliveries and induced deliveries following the rupture of the amniotic sac in the mother share similar neonatal outcomes, contradicting common wisdom. [More]
New study reveals physicians not discouraging Egyptian women from practicing female circumcision

New study reveals physicians not discouraging Egyptian women from practicing female circumcision

Women in Egypt are seeking out doctors' opinions on whether they should circumcise their daughters and, though it is illegal there, physicians are not discouraging the practice, giving legitimacy to a procedure that has serious medical risks, according to a new study led by a former Stanford University School of Medicine researcher. [More]
Naturally-occurring sugars in woman's breast milk may protect infants against life threatening bacteria

Naturally-occurring sugars in woman's breast milk may protect infants against life threatening bacteria

A type of sugar found naturally in some women's breast milk may protect newborn babies from infection with a potentially life threatening bacterium called Group B streptococcus, according to a new study from Imperial College London. [More]
Exact magnitude of stillbirths, maternal and neonatal mortality underreported, WHO reveals

Exact magnitude of stillbirths, maternal and neonatal mortality underreported, WHO reveals

The day of birth is potentially the most dangerous time for mothers and babies. Every year, worldwide, 303 000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life and 2.6 million babies are stillborn. [More]
Hygiene hypothesis: a misleading misnomer? An interview with Professor Sally Bloomfield

Hygiene hypothesis: a misleading misnomer? An interview with Professor Sally Bloomfield

Professor Strachan first proposed the hygiene hypothesis back in 1989. Reviewing the evidence, he suggested that one of the causes of the recent rapid rise in allergic diseases in children was lack of exposure to childhood infections [More]
Researchers identify altered activity in distinct areas of the brain during hypnosis sessions

Researchers identify altered activity in distinct areas of the brain during hypnosis sessions

Your eyelids are getting heavy, your arms are going limp and you feel like you're floating through space. [More]
Study highlights need for effective support when pregnant women opt for C-section

Study highlights need for effective support when pregnant women opt for C-section

A study involving over 6,500 pregnant women from 6 countries in northern Europe highlights a clear need for appropriate support and advice when cesarean section (c-section) is elected for non-medical reasons, and for the accurate communication of the risk and benefits of c-section birth, suggests new research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology. [More]
OMT techniques can help decrease acute pain in postpartum women

OMT techniques can help decrease acute pain in postpartum women

Preliminary results demonstrate that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) helps reduce acute pain in postpartum women, regardless of whether they delivered vaginally or via cesarean. [More]
Maternal antiretroviral treatment eliminates HIV transmission to infants during breastfeeding

Maternal antiretroviral treatment eliminates HIV transmission to infants during breastfeeding

For HIV-infected mothers whose immune system is in good health, taking a three-drug antiretroviral regimen during breastfeeding essentially eliminates HIV transmission by breast milk to their infants, according to results from a large clinical trial conducted in sub-Saharan Africa and India. [More]
Expert outlines five key reasons to examine relationship between childbirth and media

Expert outlines five key reasons to examine relationship between childbirth and media

An academic from the University of Leicester has discussed ways in which the media shapes society’s perceptions, anxieties and emotions arising out of birth. [More]
Non-drug solutions for postpartum depression: an interview with Dr David Brock & Christopher Thatcher

Non-drug solutions for postpartum depression: an interview with Dr David Brock & Christopher Thatcher

Postpartum depression (PPD) is reported to occur in 10-15% of delivering women with an estimated 400,000 women affected annually in the US. It is the most common complication of childbirth and is a significant public health concern. [More]
New research highlights need to abandon modern hygiene hypothesis

New research highlights need to abandon modern hygiene hypothesis

The July issue of Perspectives in Public Health (published by the Royal Society of Public Health) takes an objective view of ongoing research showing that the hygiene hypothesis – the idea that allergies are the price we are paying for our “modern obsession with cleanliness” – is a misleading misnomer. [More]
Study uses 3D motion capture to measure how pregnant women walk

Study uses 3D motion capture to measure how pregnant women walk

Movie sets are normally the home of three-dimensional motion caption systems, but researchers used the same video recording system in a lab to measure the way pregnant women walk. [More]
Women more afraid of childbirth than previously thought

Women more afraid of childbirth than previously thought

Every woman who has ever had a baby shower has had to sit through the gruesome war stories about labor and childbirth. [More]
WHO urges all countries to establish blood services based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations

WHO urges all countries to establish blood services based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations

Voluntary, unpaid blood donations must be increased rapidly in more than half the world’s countries in order to ensure a reliable supply of safe blood for patients whose lives depend on it, the World Health Organization said on World Blood Donor Day. [More]
Mayo Clinic offers new treatment for patients with long-term fecal incontinence

Mayo Clinic offers new treatment for patients with long-term fecal incontinence

A clinical team on Mayo Clinic's Florida campus is the first to offer four patients with long-term fecal incontinence a new and potentially long-lasting treatment — a small band of interlinked magnetic titanium beads on a titanium string that successfully mimics the function of the anal sphincter. [More]
New real-time imaging technique holds great potential in shaping assisted reproduction procedures

New real-time imaging technique holds great potential in shaping assisted reproduction procedures

Researchers at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed advanced microscopy technologies to monitor embryo development in real time, revealing how mammalian cells differentiate during the earliest stages of embryonic life. [More]
Global life expectancy on the rise, but major health inequalities persist

Global life expectancy on the rise, but major health inequalities persist

Dramatic gains in life expectancy have been made globally since 2000, but major inequalities persist within and among countries, according to this year’s “World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs”. [More]
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