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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.
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]
New study finds no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion

New study finds no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion

Among the facts so widely assumed that they are rarely, if ever studied, is the notion that wider hips make women less efficient when they walk and run. [More]
BU study explores birth outcomes for women who receive fertility treatment

BU study explores birth outcomes for women who receive fertility treatment

Birth outcomes for babies whose mothers used assisted reproductive technology (ART) are better in some cases, and worse in others, than for subfertile women who did not use ART, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers. [More]
Mother's age at childbirth may affect metabolic health of male children

Mother's age at childbirth may affect metabolic health of male children

A mother's age at childbirth may affect her male baby's birth weight as well as his adult glucose metabolism, new research shows. [More]
TOMS Bag Collection launched to address issue of maternal health worldwide

TOMS Bag Collection launched to address issue of maternal health worldwide

TOMS – the company known for starting a global movement through its One for One business model – has launched its fourth and newest product, the TOMS Bag Collection, addressing the issue of maternal health worldwide. [More]
Pelvalon receives FDA approval to market Eclipse System for improving bowel control in women

Pelvalon receives FDA approval to market Eclipse System for improving bowel control in women

Pelvalon announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted the company's de novo request to market the Eclipse System, the first vaginal insert designed to provide bowel control, in the United States. Loss of bowel control, also known as fecal incontinence, is a condition that affects over 20 million women in the U.S. [More]
Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare awards grants to support MIHS programs

Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare awards grants to support MIHS programs

The Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare announced today that it awarded $50,000 in community impact grants to help four programs that support the underserved, including a unique hospital-based domestic violence prevention effort. [More]
Risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful in advanced maternal age

Risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful in advanced maternal age

Many of the risk factors associated with pregnancy are more harmful when the expectant mother is over 35. [More]
Induced or augmented labor does not increase risk of autism spectrum disorder

Induced or augmented labor does not increase risk of autism spectrum disorder

A research collaboration between Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, and the University of Utah's Psychiatry Department found that induced or augmented labor does not result in an increased risk of children developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). [More]
Induced labor is not associated with Autism spectrum disorder, shows study

Induced labor is not associated with Autism spectrum disorder, shows study

In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 in an oral pleanary session at 8 a.m. PST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™, in San Diego, researchers will report that induced or augmented labor are not associated with increased odds of Autism spectrum disorder. [More]
Survey results shows meningioma survivors more likely to want and intend to have baby

Survey results shows meningioma survivors more likely to want and intend to have baby

The diagnosis of a brain tumor—even one that's usually "benign" and slow growing such as a meningioma—can be scary. [More]
New study finds link between dyspareunia and mode of delivery

New study finds link between dyspareunia and mode of delivery

Operative birth is associated with persisting pain during or after sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, suggests a new study published today (21 January) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. [More]
New research on safest way to position women during labor

New research on safest way to position women during labor

New research is challenging what many obstetricians and physician anesthesiologists believe is the best way to position women during labor. According to a study published in the February issue of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the traditional practice of positioning women on their side, with hips tilted at 15 degrees, during labor does not effectively reduce compression of the inferior vena cava, a large vein located near the abdominal area that returns blood to the heart, as previously thought. [More]
Prenatal program enhances couples' co-parenting relationship, improves childhood outcomes

Prenatal program enhances couples' co-parenting relationship, improves childhood outcomes

Children whose parents participated in a prenatal program aimed at enhancing couples' co-parenting relationship were better adjusted at age seven than children whose parents were assigned to a control group, according to Penn State researchers. [More]
Controlling acute and chronic pain in women

Controlling acute and chronic pain in women

Despite the variety of effective treatments, and physicians who specialize in treating pain, women often suffer unnecessarily from conditions ranging from backaches to pain after cancer surgery, and also treat their pain with medications that may be ineffective and possibly harmful, according to a review of research related to women and pain by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. [More]
Women with postpartum depression during pregnancy may face greater risk, study finds

Women with postpartum depression during pregnancy may face greater risk, study finds

When it comes to postpartum depression, one size does not fit all, according to a new study led by University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers. [More]
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