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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.
Opioid abuse in pregnant women increases 127% in 14 years

Opioid abuse in pregnant women increases 127% in 14 years

The number of pregnant women who abuse or are dependent on opioids (narcotics) jumped 127 percent in 14 years, leading to an increased risk of maternal death and stillbirth among other serious problems, according to a review of more than 57 million American women admitted for delivery. [More]
Hispanics hospitalized less than other ethnic groups, study finds

Hispanics hospitalized less than other ethnic groups, study finds

For nearly three decades, researchers have pondered the Hispanic Mortality Paradox -- why Hispanics in the U.S. tend to outlive non-Hispanic whites by several years, despite having, in general, lower income and educational attainment levels that are associated with shorter lives. [More]
Preterm birth becomes world's number one killer of young children

Preterm birth becomes world's number one killer of young children

For the first time in history, the complications of preterm birth outrank all other causes as the world's number one killer of young children. [More]
'Mentor Mothers' program improves perinatal health outcomes in South Africa

'Mentor Mothers' program improves perinatal health outcomes in South Africa

The incidence of HIV infection in South Africa tops that of any nation in the world, with some 6 million of the country's nearly 50 million residents infected. Sadly, young women — and particularly young pregnant women — suffer some of the highest rates of HIV infection. More than one-fourth of pregnant South African women are infected with the virus; in some communities, the infection rates are even higher. [More]
Epidural and spinal anesthesia safe for relieving pain during childbirth

Epidural and spinal anesthesia safe for relieving pain during childbirth

Women seeking pain relief during childbirth should be comforted to know that epidural and spinal anesthesia are extremely safe, suggests a study of more than 80,000 women that reviewed anesthesia complications during obstetrical care. [More]
Pregnant women with low vitamin D levels experience more pain during labor

Pregnant women with low vitamin D levels experience more pain during labor

Pregnant women with low vitamin D levels experience an increased amount of pain during labor, according to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2014 annual meeting. Vitamin D deficiency has long been associated with depression and pain, but this is the first study to demonstrate its association with increased consumption of pain medication during childbirth. [More]
Researchers compare effects of early and late epidurals given during labour

Researchers compare effects of early and late epidurals given during labour

When a woman is in labour, the appropriate time to give an epidural during childbirth is when she asks for it, a new study suggests. [More]
NanoBio to highlight prophylactic NE HSV-2 vaccine candidate at The Keystone Symposia Conference

NanoBio to highlight prophylactic NE HSV-2 vaccine candidate at The Keystone Symposia Conference

NanoBio Corporation today announced that the company will present data at The Keystone Symposia Conference, The Modes of Action of Vaccine Adjuvants, in Seattle on October 12, 2014. [More]
New version of Belmont Rapid Infuser to be introduced at ASA 2014

New version of Belmont Rapid Infuser to be introduced at ASA 2014

Belmont Instrument Corporation, the widely recognized provider of blood and fluid infusers, will be introducing the new version of The Belmont Rapid Infuser, the RI-2 at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Meeting this week in New Orleans, LA. [More]
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]