Labor and Delivery

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Having a Cesarean Delivery

Many patients wonder whether they'll need a cesarean. Sometimes your doctor knows the answer before labor even begins — if you have placenta previa, for example, or if the baby is in a [more…]

A Dad’s Bag-Packing Checklist for the Hospital

Pack a bag for the hospital in advance so that when your pregnant partner goes into labor, you’ll be ready to race out the door without worrying about finding deodorant and a phone charger. Your mind will [more…]

Items for Your Labour and Delivery in Australia and New Zealand

During your pregnancy, pack portable items you’re likely to need for your labour, birth and hospital stay in a bag and keep it in a handy place or in your car. For your trip to the hospital in Australia [more…]

Knowing What the APGAR Score Evaluates

An APGAR score measures how well a newborn is doing at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The five factors you evaluate just happen to line up with the last name of the doctor, Dr. Virginia Apgar, who created [more…]

Preterm Labor

The strict technical definition of preterm labor is when a woman begins to have contractions and changes in her cervix before she’s 37 weeks along. Many women have contractions but no cervical change — [more…]

Bodily Changes before Labor Begins

As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may recognize certain changes as your body prepares for the big event. You may notice all these symptoms, or you may not notice any of them. Sometimes the changes [more…]

How to Discern False Labor from True Labor

Distinguishing true labor from false labor isn’t always easy. But a few general characteristics can help you determine whether the symptoms you’re experiencing mean you’re in labor. [more…]

Practitioners Check for Labor with an Internal Exam

If you think you’re in labor, call your practitioner. When a practitioner is trying to determine whether you’re in labor, he performs an internal exam to look for several things: [more…]

Fetal Heart Monitoring

Labor puts stress on both you and the baby. Fetal heart monitoring provides a way to make sure that the baby is handling the stress. Monitoring can be done through several techniques. [more…]

Tests of Fetal Health during Labor

If the information from the fetal monitor raises concerns or is ambiguous, your practitioner can perform other tests to help determine how to proceed with your labor. [more…]

Nudging Things Along: Labor Induction

To induce labor means to cause it to begin before it starts on its own. Induction may be a necessity (due to some obstetric, medical, or fetal complications) or elective [more…]

The First Stage of Labor

The first stage of labor occurs from the onset of true labor to full dilation of the cervix. This stage is by far the longest (taking an average of 11 hours for a first child and 7 hours for subsequent [more…]

Systemic Medications for Labor Pain

The most common medications used systemically are relatives of the narcotic morphine — drugs such as meperidine (brand name Demerol), fentanyl (Sublimaze), butorphanal [more…]

Regional Anesthetics for Labor Pain

Systemic medications are distributed via the bloodstream to all parts of the body. Yet most of the pain of labor and delivery is concentrated in the uterus, vagina, and rectum. So regional anesthesia is [more…]

Alternative Forms of Labor-Pain Management

Whereas systemic medications or various anesthetic techniques are aimed at eliminating the physical sensation of pain, alternative or non-pharmacologic methods are directed toward preventing the suffering [more…]

Alternative Birthing Methods

More and more women are expressing interest in nontraditional or alternative birthing methods, and more and more possibilities are becoming available. Certainly, the following options aren’t for everyone [more…]

Vaginal Delivery and Pushing Your Baby Out

Most expectant mothers spend a great deal of time during the 40 weeks of pregnancy thinking ahead to the actual delivery. The most common method of delivery is, of course, a vaginal delivery. [more…]

Getting an Episiotomy

Just before birth, the baby’s head distends the perineum (the area between the vagina and the rectum) and stretches the skin around the vagina. As the baby’s head comes through the vagina’s opening, it [more…]

Assisting Nature: Operative Vaginal Delivery

If the baby’s head is low enough in the birth canal and your practitioner feels that the baby needs to be delivered immediately or that you can’t deliver the baby vaginally without some added help, she [more…]

Anesthesia for a Cesarean Delivery

The most common forms of anesthesia used for cesarean deliveries are epidural and spinal. Both kinds of anesthesia numb you from mid-chest to toes but also allow you to remain awake so that you can experience [more…]

Reasons for Cesarean Delivery

Your doctor may perform a cesarean delivery for many reasons, but all are about delivering the infant in the safest, healthiest way possible while also maintaining the mother’s well-being. A cesarean delivery [more…]

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