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.

Safety of Sex Before, During, and After Pregnancy

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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. This counting tool automatically calculates the number of contractions, length, interval, and other important information. ... 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 »

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 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 »

Back Labor and Back Pain In Pregnancy

Back labor is a type of labor in which the mother feels most if not all of her contraction pain in her lower back. ... 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 »

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 »

Cervical Insufficiency (Incompetence)

What is cervical insufficiency or incompetence? ... read more »

Induction of labor

In most women, labor induction is not necessary because labor begins spontaneously without anyone having to do something about it. ... read more »

Stages of Labor

There are three stages of labor starting from the time of the beginning of contractions and cervical dilatation up to the delivery of the placenta. ... read more »

Breathing During Pregnancy

When a mother to be talks about breathing during pregnancy, most often it will involve preparation for birth. ... read more »

Labor During Certain Weather

A full moon and bad weather do not increase your chances going into labor. ... read more »

Avoiding Spicy Foods

Can eating spicy foods in pregnancy induce labor? ... read more »

Epidural versus non-epidural or no analgesia in labour

Epidural analgesia appears to be effective in reducing pain during labour. However, women who use this form of pain relief are at increased risk of having an instrumental delivery. ... read more »

Magnesium Sulfate May Reduce Cerebral Palsy

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Travel Safety During Pregnancy

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Labor, Delivery, and Birth Guide

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Dr. Amos' Fertility and Pregnancy e-Book

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What Would You Need 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 »

What is it Like to be Pregnant with Twins?

For many women, having twins is either a prayer answered or the scariest thing on earth. As is the case with all pregnancies, being pregnant with twins can be easy or hard. It is often the unanswered questions that are hardest for women pregnant with twins. ... 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 »

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 »

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?

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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 »

Answering Questions about the Mucus Plug

The mucus plug forms soon after the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. The plug blocks the opening of the cervix until the gestational period is over. ... read more »

Cerebral Palsy Risk in Early or Late Delivery

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 »

Labor Contractions

Labor contractions are the body's way of saying, 'Let's get ready tohave a baby!' and are caused by hormones in the body. Labor contractions come in three forms: false, practice and activelabor. ... read more »

7 Tips for Staying Comfortable at Work During Pregnancy

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Pushing Tips

Pregnant women ask questions about pushing but until active labor begins, they will not know how strong the pressure and need to push is. Learning tips for effective pushing can lessen time in labor.  ... read more »

Assisted Breathing

Whether the woman has chosen a natural childbirth or a labor with pain medication, breathing is essential to the health of the baby during this stressful time. ... read more »

Common Myths About Inducing Labor

The latter days of pregnancy can be the most irritating. When resting in bed, mom may search for the fastest way to self-induce labor from home and may come across some interesting prospects. ... read more »

General Anesthesia

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Natural Childbirth

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Vacuum Assisted Birth and Forceps

When energy levels are low or the baby's head is a bit too large to push through the vaginal opening, vacuum assisted birth or forceps may be used to help in the birthing process. ... read more »

Second Stage of Active Labor

The second stage of active labor is when the woman finally gets to react to those strong contractions. As the second stage of active labor begins the woman will feel the need to push. ... read more »

Third Stage of Labor

The placenta is a blood rich organ which needs to pass out of the uterus and vagina after delivery. ... read more »

Breathing Exercises

Most women link breathing exercises to pain management during labor, but breathing during labor also provides increased oxygen levels to the baby that is in state of stress as well. ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Unproductive Labor

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

How is False Labor Different?

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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 »

Labor Induction: What You Need to Know

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Changing the Birth Plan After Labor Starts

A birth plan can help guide the birthing process with basic instructions, wishes and expectations outlined for labor coaches, nurses and doctors. ... read more »

Can I Use My Own Linens on the Bed?

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