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.

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?

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is rarely used during labor and delivery. General anesthesia is reserved for C-section deliveries that have complications. ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Can Children Spend the Night in the Hospital?

The definition of the term children is important when answering this question. If your children are older and can take care of themselves (teens and older) the hospital may allow children to stay overnight in place of your partner. ... read more »

How To Deal With Delivery Room Guests

Guests in the delivery room are a topic couples should discuss well before labor begins. How many people do you want around during labor? Is there a difference for you between labor guests and guests who you want to experience the active pushing phase? ... read more »

Should Your Mom Be in the Delivery Room?

Before labor begins, you may have to deal with the idea that someone other than you and your partner want to attend the birth. Should your mom be in the delivery room or should this event be kept between you and your partner? Here are a few things to consider. ... read more »

Are Partners Allowed to Stay the Night in the Hospital?

Hospital rules regarding partners, coaches or spouses staying the night of the birth vary by hospital. Some hospitals encourage partner support. Staff will setup a bed and even bring meals to your partner as a guest. ... read more »

Benefits of Having Family in the Delivery Room

Family is all about support and love and there is no better time to have tons of both than the time you spend in the delivery room. Discuss your feelings about immediate and extended family being part of the delivery with your partner early in the pregnancy. ... read more »

What Classes Can Prepare Me for Labor?

Labor classes like Lamaze are available for women who want to ease labor pain and learn techniques for self control and self awareness during the birthing process. Other birthing classes include the Bradley method, Leboyer method and breastfeeding classes. ... read more »

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?

There are few hospitals that refuse women the right to change the bed linens to a personal set during labor. However, the bed linens should fit the hospital bed snugly for safety reasons. ... read more »

How Many People are Allowed in the Delivery Room?

The number of people allowed in the delivery room will vary by hospital. ... 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-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 »

Your Dad in the Delivery Room - What to Consider

However, some dads are excited by the idea of experiencing the birthing experience with their daughters. Before saying yes or no, think about all aspects of the birthing process and how you truly feel about dad being there. ... read more »

Can My Labor be Photographed or Filmed?

Filming or photographing the birth of your child is an extremely personal choice, but not all hospitals, birthing centers or obstetricians allow YOU to make that choice. ... read more »

Choosing the Best Labor Coach

All 40 weeks of pregnancy boils down to one moment ' labor. A laborcoach is someone who's there to keep mom on track, get dad's head out of the clouds and even help keep family members informed and appeasedduring the birthing process. ... read more »

How to Choose Your Midwife

Everyone I know who used a midwife during her pregnancy and during her delivery absolutely loved it. They said they felt a special connection with their midwife towards the big day, which made the delivery process more personal and easy. In a hospital setting, it’s easy to feel like just another patient, which is concerning when you’re trying to get the best care for your specific needs. When a midwife is handling the delivery, she can do it right in the home and she will know every detail of your personal preferences. ... read more »

Mucus Plug And Bloody Show In Pregnancy

The cervical mucus plug is often expelled before labor so that the cervix can open to allow the baby to pass through to prepare for delivery. ... 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 »

Progesterone No Help in Preventing Preterm Twin Births

This Lancet study shows that progesterone does not prevent preterm births in twins. ... read more »

Impact of Breastfeeding on Mother and Newborn

There was no significant difference in full-term or non-full-term births rates and mean newborn birth weight between for those who continued and discontinued breastfeeding during pregnancy.  ... read more »

Tocolytic Therapy for Preterm Delivery

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 »

Hospital Is Trying To Reduce Cesarean Deliveries

As the number of cesarean sections has risen sharply, with no clear evidence that they improve the health of mothers or babies, experts say that childbirth has become overly medicalized and overly expensive. Now some hospitals are making an effort to reduce those trends. ... 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Gate Control and How it Can Affect Your Birth

What’s the first thing you do if you smack your funny bone? Without even thinking about it, you rub your elbow. You’re using gate control to alleviate your pain - even if you don’t have any idea what that is. What does this mean for labor? ... read more »

How successful will induction of labor be?

The best way to predict whether the induction is going to be successful, and whether you are going to have a normal delivery is to do a vaginal examination and check the cervix for 5 different parameters, and adding them up for the Bishop score. ... read more »

Labor Contractions: How Do I Know It's Labor?

It's a fact. Most women got through labor in preparation for delivering the baby. But why is it happening and how do you know you are in labor? ... read more »

Relieve Your Labor Pains with a Massage

Many women have feared the pain of labor since childhood. Even before anyone tells you that it’s painful, it’s easy to draw such a conclusion when you consider what you know about the size of a baby versus what you know about female anatomy. ... read more »

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