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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.
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]
High doses of vitamin D supplements could lead to fewer birth complications but reduce fertility

High doses of vitamin D supplements could lead to fewer birth complications but reduce fertility

New research has established that high doses of vitamin D supplements can lead to fewer complications during childbirth but reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant in the first place. [More]
Study demonstrates effectiveness of NeuroStar TMS Therapy System in women with postpartum depression

Study demonstrates effectiveness of NeuroStar TMS Therapy System in women with postpartum depression

An unfortunate fact facing mothers in the U.S. is that postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of women who give birth each year – or roughly 600,000 women – experience postpartum depression symptoms. [More]
WHO guidelines on the management of health complications from female genital mutilation

WHO guidelines on the management of health complications from female genital mutilation

Health workers across the world now need to be prepared to provide care to girls and women who have undergone FGM. But, health workers are often unaware of the many negative health consequences of FGM and many remain inadequately trained to recognize and treat them properly. As a result, many women may suffer needlessly from physical and mental health consequences due to FGM. [More]
Novel iPad simulation app can instruct future nurses in monitoring babies and mothers during labor

Novel iPad simulation app can instruct future nurses in monitoring babies and mothers during labor

Sheila Taylor leaned in to see the baby's heartbeat rhythm. She watched as the baby's heartbeat line fell without a corresponding spike showing the mother's uterus contracting down on it. [More]
Formal mental health therapies offer little relief from postpartum depression for low-income mothers of color

Formal mental health therapies offer little relief from postpartum depression for low-income mothers of color

Health care providers and human service agencies often manage postpartum depression with formal mental health treatments and antidepressant therapies, but for new, low-income mothers of color these interventions often provide little relief from the mood disorder that sometimes follows childbirth, according to a new study led by a University at Buffalo researcher. [More]
Sexually-assaulted women more likely to develop variety of medical conditions

Sexually-assaulted women more likely to develop variety of medical conditions

Researchers have found that a variety of conditions are more common in women before and after sexual assault. [More]
Internet-based CBT programme can help women suffering from severe FOC

Internet-based CBT programme can help women suffering from severe FOC

Women expecting their first child but who are experiencing severe fear of childbirth (FOC) stand to dramatically benefit in reducing their anxieties with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered via the internet, according to the results of new research. [More]
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