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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.
Inova Diagnostics announces FDA clearance for QUANTA Flash assays, QUANTA Flash Beta-2GP1 Domain1

Inova Diagnostics announces FDA clearance for QUANTA Flash assays, QUANTA Flash Beta-2GP1 Domain1

Inova Diagnostics, a worldwide leader in autoimmune diagnostic reagents and systems for the clinical laboratory, announced today that it has received 510(k) clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on key QUANTA Flash assays for use with Inova Diagnostics' BIO-FLASH chemiluminescent analyzer for autoimmune testing. [More]
Teen birth, mental illness increase hospitalization of children in Texas

Teen birth, mental illness increase hospitalization of children in Texas

From 2004 to 2010 in Texas, mental illness was the most common reason for the hospitalization of children ages 10-14 while pregnancy/birth was the most common reason for the hospitalization of adolescents ages 15-17, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. [More]
New five point model of midwifery care results in safer birth outcomes, lower Cesarean Section rates

New five point model of midwifery care results in safer birth outcomes, lower Cesarean Section rates

Donna Tabas, CNM, M.S., has developed a new five point model of midwifery care for low risk women that results in faster, safe, natural and empowering labor and birthing outcomes in both first time and repeat birthing mothers and extremely low Cesarean Section rates. [More]
Cost of childbirths can vary depending on the type of hospital, shows study

Cost of childbirths can vary depending on the type of hospital, shows study

The cost of having a baby can vary by almost $10,000 depending on which hospital is chosen, Yale School of Medicine researchers have found in a study published in the July issue of the journal Health Affairs. [More]
U-M researchers develop first-ever 3D model to help study treatment for pelvic organ prolapse

U-M researchers develop first-ever 3D model to help study treatment for pelvic organ prolapse

It's a mysterious condition often linked to childbirth that causes distress and discomfort and requires surgery for more than 200,000 women a year - but there's no good way to study it. Now, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed the first-ever 3D complete computer model to help study treatment for pelvic organ prolapse, a weakening of muscles and ligaments that causes organs like the bladder to drop from their normal place. For many women, the condition causes urinary problems, painful intercourse and uncomfortable pressure. [More]
Hormones used in breast cancer treatment could affect disease progression, outcomes in some patients

Hormones used in breast cancer treatment could affect disease progression, outcomes in some patients

Recently, researchers have discovered that the hormone progesterone, an ingredient in contraceptives and menopausal hormone replacement therapies, might stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells that are resistant to anti-estrogen therapy and chemotherapy. [More]
Early menstrual cycle could play role in development of ER-negative breast cancer among African-American women

Early menstrual cycle could play role in development of ER-negative breast cancer among African-American women

Early age at menarche, or first menstrual cycle, could play a role in the disproportionate incidence of estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancers diagnosed among African-American women, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. [More]
Study shows development assistance for health increased substantially since 1990

Study shows development assistance for health increased substantially since 1990

Funding for health in developing countries has increased substantially since 1990, with a focus on HIV/AIDS, maternal health, and newborn and child health, and limited funding for noncommunicable diseases, according to a study in the June 16 issue of JAMA. [More]
ICM provides formal endorsement of Direct Relief Midwife Kit as global standard for midwives

ICM provides formal endorsement of Direct Relief Midwife Kit as global standard for midwives

The International Confederation of Midwives has provided its first-ever formal endorsement of a Midwife Kit as a standard for midwives trained to ICM's competency standards. The Midwife Kit was developed by Direct Relief in consultation with ICM experts. Direct Relief will provide the kit free of charge to midwives in developing countries. [More]
Alternative rehabilitation program for women diagnosed with diastasis recti

Alternative rehabilitation program for women diagnosed with diastasis recti

A series of online exercises and on demand curriculum is now available for women battling a not so well-known condition called diastasis recti. Founder, Raintree Sumazin, retired ballerina, pilates and yoga instructor, and certified holistic health counselor, brought this program to life after herself recovering from 8 finger diagnosis of the condition. [More]

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]
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