Labor is the act of the baby moving from the womb to the outside world through contractions and changes in the cervix. Labor is usually defined as contractions of the uterus that are strong enough to make the cervix change, make it shorter (effacement) and softer and open it up (dilatation). The body has precisely planned out the entire 40 weeks of gestation and when the body says the time has come for the baby to leave the womb, the process of active labor begins. Labor can be spontaneous or it can be induced. Early labor signs and symptoms include regular, strong contractions lasting over 1 minute and which do not stop when moving.

We've all seen the depictions of women going into labor on TV and in movies, which usually occur in a very dramatic fashion: think water breaking all over the place and at the most inopportune time. The truth is that the signs and symptoms of labor, and in particular, early labor, can be very slight bodily changes and feelings that may or may not be noticeable. It can be confusing to tell the difference between late pregnancy pains and early labor signs. Signs of a true impending labor include: movement makes the pains stronger or more frequent, pains increase in strength and frequency over time, pains are accompanied by feelings of nausea or intestinal discomfort, pain spreads to the lower back, upper abdominals and upper thighs, the mucus plug passes or you notice bloody spots, your water breaks.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases During Pregnancy

An infection during pregnancy is different from when you are not pregnant - it can affect the pregnant woman as well as the developing fetus inside the uterus. ... read more »

Elective Induction of Labor vs. Expectant Management

Our findings indicate that elective induction of labour at term gestation can reduce perinatal mortality in developed countries without increasing the risk of operative delivery. ... read more »

What is a Cesarean Section?

A cesarean section is an operative delivery done by cutting through the mother's abdomen and uterus and delivering the baby through the incision. ... read more »

Dr. Amos Pregnancy Book

Read Dr. Amos' eBook about pregnancy, fertility, trying to get pregnant, and the postpartum period. Everything you need to know! ... read more »

Labor, Delivery, and Birth Guide

Your guide to labor and delivery, anesthesia, delivery options, and more!. ... read more »

Labor Induction Can Improve Birth Outcomes

A policy of labour induction compared with expectant management is associated with fewer perinatal deaths and fewer caesarean sections. ... read more »

Oxytocin Doses for Delayed Labor

Higher dose of oxytocin starting and increment dose (4 mU per minute or more) was associated with a reduction in the length of labour and in caesarean section, and an increase in spontaneous vaginal birth.  ... read more »

Pain Management For Women in Labor

Most methods of non-pharmacological pain management are non-invasive and appear to be safe for mother and baby, however, their efficacy is unclear, due to limited high-quality evidence. Only one or two trials provided outcome data for analysis and the overall methodological quality of the trials was low. ... read more »

Labor-Tracking Tool May Reduce Risk of C-Section

According to researchers, the guidelines for the progression of labor before suggesting a C-section delivery are based on outdated clinical studies. ... read more »

What to Pack for Labor & Delivery

What to bring and pack when you get admitted to the hospital in labor. ... read more »

Is This True Labor Or Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Before "true" labor begins, you may have "false" labor pains, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. How do you know the difference? Read on! ... read more »

When Is It Too Late For Pain Medication?

For a pregnant woman who has decided on using pain medication for labor and delivery hearing the words, “It is too late to relieve pain” can be frightening. Why, and more importantly when, is it too late for pain medication during labor and delivery? ... read more »

HIV Testing In Pregnancy Accepted

A recent study has proven beneficial for children born with HIV. During the study, women were counseled on the importance of HIV testing before the birth of their child in order to establish their HIV status and begin immediate treatment for the child post birth. ... read more »

Travel Safety During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it's generally safe for pregnant women to travel safely, but some precautions must be taken as to the places of travel and circumstances. ... read more »

Is It Safe To Fly During Pregnancy?

Flying can be safe in pregnancy as long as you take certain precautions. Air travel can be very tiring, and there are several suggestions to make it less stressful. ... read more »

Warm Water and Fetal Safety

Taking warm baths can help relieve tension and pain throughout pregnancy, but too warm could lead to birth defects and lack of oxygen to the baby. ... read more »

Unproductive Labor

When labor starts, mom begins the mental preparation needed to move from pregnancy to motherhood. ... read more »

In Labor Gravity Is Your Friend

Lying flat on the back, also known as the lithotomy position, turns out to be one of the hardest positions there is to give birth in (short of standing on your head!) ... read more »

How to Survive the 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy in 12 Steps

The 3rd trimester, the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy, is important because significant issues can arise during this time. ... read more »

Study: Epidurals Slow Second Stage of Labor, Delay Delivery

The findings of a recent study on the use of epidurals during labor suggest the need to review current guidelines defining normal progression and potentially dangerous prolonged (abnormal) labor. ... read more »

Labor Contractions Timer Tool

The babyMed Labor Contractions Timer Tool allows you to follow your contractions as labor begins and as it progresses toward delivery.  When timing labor contractions, start counting from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. Follow your contractions and calculate everything about them: How long they last, how far apart they are and how frequent they become. ... read more »

Back Pain In Pregnancy

Dealing with back pain during pregnancy is all about rest, relaxation and the right support ... but back pain could also indicate a more serious problem. ... read more »

Does Sex During Pregnancy Cause Labor?

Sex is often one of the first tactics pregnant moms will use to bring about the start of birth. ... read more »

Does Sex Bring On Labor?

It's unlikely that sex is is going to cause you to go into labor. But many doctors tell their pregnant patients to go ahead anyway when they are past their due date. It's worth trying. ... read more »

Premature Labor - Preterm Labor

Premature labor or preterm labor is when there are contractions and cervical changes before 37 weeks gestation. ... read more »

IV Oxytocin Often Not Needed During Normal Labor

Oxytocin is commonly given via IV during birth is progress is slow, but researchers reveal this extra boost of labor inducing hormone may not be needed in many cases ' when given during normal labor. ... read more »

Anesthesia During Labor and Delivery

There are 4 types of anesthesia currently used in the laboring process. These include drugs, local anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, and epidural anesthesia. ... read more »

Epidural And Spinal Anesthesia and Pregnancy

An epidural anesthesia is the most popular choice among women in labor and delivery. It is delivered through a needle and catheter which usually stays in place until the baby is born. ... read more »

Giving Birth

It's an amazing experience to bring a baby into the world, so it's normal for pregnant women to look forward to giving birth.  ... read more »

How Pregnant Am I When…?

There are milestones throughout a pregnancy. Some are physically noticeable and others happen and pregnant women have no idea they occurred. How pregnant am I? ... read more »

Does Alcohol-Free Mouth Wash Reduce Risk of Preterm Birth?

Researchers presented a study at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine yearly meet-up, The Pregnancy Meeting, regarding the possible benefits of using alcohol-free mouthwash to reduce preterm labor. ... read more »

Tocolytic therapy for preterm delivery systematic review and network meta-analysis

This is a great review from the British Medical Journal of tocolytic therapy, treatment to stop preterm labor. It reviews  what works and what does not. There are two tocolytics that seem to have the highest success rate: prostaglandin inhibitors (eg indomethacin, ketorolac)  performed best closely followed by calcium channel blockers (nifedipine, nitrates). ... read more »

Losing Mucus Plug: When Will Labor Start?

Losing your mucus plug and seeing bloody show could mean labor is on the way, but how long will it take until labor starts? And how will you know if you lose your mucus plug? ... read more »

How Weather Affects Pregnancy

Barometric pressure is the weight of the air and gases in the atmosphere pressing down on us. It’s easy to assume that air particles are weightless, but they’re not, and some days more air is above us than others. ... read more »

Why Do I Have Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy?

One of the most concerning for many pregnant women is pelvic pain. Pelvic pain can be attributed to more than just the weight of the uterus and fetus and it is not always associated with labor. ... read more »

Sex and the Five Trimesters of Pregnancy

There are five distinct three-month periods trimesters associated with pregnancy and each one affects your sex life in distinctly different ways ... read more »

Top Childbirth Fears: Questions and Answers

There are so many worries and concerns when it comes being pregnant, with perhaps the largest surrounding what might potentially happen during labor and delivery. Knowledge is power so we compiled top worries about labor and delivery along with information on how to conquer them! ... read more »

How To Find A Good Hospital and Maternity Unit

Finding a good hospital unit for maternity is among the top priorities for pregnant women to ensure the optimal care when you are having a baby. ... read more »

When Should I Head To The Hospital?

The first stage, when mom starts feeling real labor pains, can last between 10 and 14 hours. Once through this first stage, it is time for mom to head off to the hospital. ... read more »

Early Or Late Delivery May Increase Risk of Cerebral Palsy in Children

Preterm birth is a known risk factor for cerebral palsy, but researchers have now added weeks 37 and 42+ to that list. According to a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association, the lowest risk occurs when children are born at 40 weeks. ... read more »

Facts About Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time in life when women feel closer to their spouse and body more than ever before. Here are a few facts about pregnancy for expecting moms. ... read more »

Premature Labor Symptoms and Signs - When To Call The Doctor

Premature labor and delivery is the #1 reason for newborn death. You should call the doctor or go to the hospital if you have any of these symptoms or signs. ... read more »

How Do You Know You Are In Labor - Early Labor Symptoms and Signs

As the pregnancy comes to an end, there are early labor symptoms and signs that mom will need to look for in order to recognize the beginning of labor. ... read more »

A Labor and Delivery Nurse's Birth Plan or Birthing Plan

Birth plans are common these days. Here is a birthplan written by a labor and delivery nurse. ... read more »

Can I Shower During Labor?

Most women don't have to report to the hospital immediately at the start of labor. If there are no complications & the pregnancy has been normal & uneventful, mom can stay at home and take a shower ... read more »

Can Spicy Food Induce Labor?

It is a myth that eating spicy food during pregnancy to induce labor actually brings on labor. There is no known food that brings on labor. ... read more »

Is Water Birth a Good Idea?

According to Wikipedia, a water birth refers to childbirth, usually human, that occurs in water. ... read more »

What You Can Wear for Labor

Most women opt to wear a hospital gown for the birth of our babies. And while I understand that a hospital gown is undeniably convenient - no worry about getting it messy or having to clean it - they are notoriously ugly and revealing. ... read more »

Prelabor Preparation

Weeks before real labor begins, the pregnant woman's body starts preparing for birth.  Most of these changes will go unno ... read more »

Premature Rupture of Fetal Membranes - PROM

Premature rupture of fetal membranes (PROM) is when the fetal membranes break prior to labor. ... read more »

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