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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 reveals increased mortality risk following hypertensive disease of pregnancy

Study reveals increased mortality risk following hypertensive disease of pregnancy

In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 at 8 a.m. EST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Atlanta, researchers will present findings from a study titled, Long-term mortality risk following hypertensive disease of pregnancy (HDP). [More]
Study examines ways to develop predictive tool for cesarean delivery in nulliparous patients

Study examines ways to develop predictive tool for cesarean delivery in nulliparous patients

In a study to be presented on Feb. 4 in an oral concurrent session at 1:15 p.m. EST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Atlanta, researchers will present findings from a study titled, How to Predict Cesarean Delivery in the Nulliparous Patient: Results from the Prospective Multi-center Genesis Study. [More]
PAHO recommendations for preventing or slowing spread of Zika virus

PAHO recommendations for preventing or slowing spread of Zika virus

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is new to the Americas. Since Brazil reported the first cases of local transmission of the virus in May 2015, it has spread to 21 countries and territories* of the Americas (as of 23 January 2016). [More]
Depression in expectant parents during pregnancy increases risk of premature birth

Depression in expectant parents during pregnancy increases risk of premature birth

Depression in both expectant mothers and fathers increases the risk of premature birth, finds a study published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG). [More]
Study shows slow global progress on stillbirth prevention leaves over 2.6 million babies at risk each year

Study shows slow global progress on stillbirth prevention leaves over 2.6 million babies at risk each year

More than 2.6 million stillbirths continue to occur globally every year with very slow progress made to tackle this 'silent problem', according to new research published in The Lancet. Despite significant reductions in the number of maternal and child deaths, there has been little change in the number of stillbirths (in the third trimester of pregnancy) even though the majority are preventable. [More]
Scientists find genetic link to unexplained heart failure affecting pregnant women

Scientists find genetic link to unexplained heart failure affecting pregnant women

Scientists have found that women who suffer unexplained heart failure towards the end of pregnancy or shortly after giving birth share certain genetic changes. [More]
New Griffith University study focuses on improving perinatal mental health in women

New Griffith University study focuses on improving perinatal mental health in women

Addressing the barriers that can prevent midwives helping mothers overcome a fear of childbirth is the focus of a new study at Griffith University. [More]
FDA approves Fenix Continence Restoration System to treat fecal incontinence

FDA approves Fenix Continence Restoration System to treat fecal incontinence

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the Fenix Continence Restoration System to treat fecal incontinence in patients who are not candidates for, or have previously failed, medical or other surgical options. [More]
Timing of marriage and first childbirth affects women's health at midlife

Timing of marriage and first childbirth affects women's health at midlife

A new study finds some surprising ways in which women's health at midlife is connected to when they had their first child and to their marital history. [More]
FDA approves recombinant von Willebrand factor for treating bleeding episodes in adults with VWD

FDA approves recombinant von Willebrand factor for treating bleeding episodes in adults with VWD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Vonvendi, von Willebrand factor (Recombinant), for use in adults 18 years of age and older who have von Willebrand disease (VWD). Vonvendi is the first FDA-approved recombinant von Willebrand factor, and is approved for the on-demand (as needed) treatment and control of bleeding episodes in adults diagnosed with VWD. [More]
WHO’s new checklist targets preventable causes of maternal, newborn deaths in healthcare settings

WHO’s new checklist targets preventable causes of maternal, newborn deaths in healthcare settings

Worldwide, the majority of maternal and newborn deaths occur around the time of birth, typically within the first 24 hours after childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable. [More]
Gestational diabetes mellitus screening provides more health benefits to pregnant women

Gestational diabetes mellitus screening provides more health benefits to pregnant women

A local research study conducted by KK Women's and Children's Hospital and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School has found that pregnant patients benefit most from gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) screening as it allows for timely interventions and brings about health benefits that far outweigh the cost. [More]
Maternal mortality down 44% since 1990

Maternal mortality down 44% since 1990

Maternal mortality has fallen by 44% since 1990, United Nations agencies and the World Bank Group reported today. [More]
New report highlights progress made in preventable maternal deaths

New report highlights progress made in preventable maternal deaths

Maternal mortality has fallen by 44% since 1990, United Nations agencies and the World Bank Group reported today. [More]
MedTechSouthEast competition displays advanced medical technologies for Parkinson’s patients

MedTechSouthEast competition displays advanced medical technologies for Parkinson’s patients

Laser-emitting shoes and a Meccano-style walking aid kit are just two of the inventions being developed by companies in London and the south east that could help people stay independent for longer as they get older or develop debilitating illnesses, according to Design Council and MedCity, the Mayor of London’s life sciences promotional organisation. [More]
Bone density related to duration of lactation

Bone density related to duration of lactation

Maternal bone density decreases after childbirth, but only among women who lactate for at least four months. The lactation period is unrelated to vitamin D status. A PhD thesis at Sahlgrenska Academy has explored the issue. [More]
Researchers examine risk of four common types of ovarian cancer in women with different childbearing patterns

Researchers examine risk of four common types of ovarian cancer in women with different childbearing patterns

The more children a woman has or whether a woman has had her fallopian tubes cut lowers the risk of different types of ovarian cancer to different levels, according to new research presented at the 2015 National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference today (Tuesday). [More]
Researchers develop accurate method to predict postpartum diabetes

Researchers develop accurate method to predict postpartum diabetes

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common conditions that can occur during pregnancy. Although the symptoms generally disappear after delivery, women suffering from gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing postpartum diabetes in the following years. [More]

Suspicion of fetal size influences patient-provider decisions to perform certain perinatal interventions

Nearly one-third of women, without a prior cesarean, reported that they were told by their maternity care providers that their babies might be ''quite large," leading to higher rates of medically-induced labor or planned cesarean deliveries that may not be warranted, a new study co-authored by Boston University School of Public Health and Medicine researchers shows. [More]
ASA: Epidural or spinal anesthesia preferred for most cesarean deliveries

ASA: Epidural or spinal anesthesia preferred for most cesarean deliveries

New research could ease the minds of expectant mothers who may be nervous about epidurals or spinal anesthesia for childbirth. A study of New York state hospitals, published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, found the rate of anesthesia-related complications in women who received epidural or spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery decreased 25 percent over the past decade. [More]
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