Labor & Delivery
Stages of Labor
Labor, also called childbirth or giving birth, is the process by which the baby and the placenta leave the mother. This video, by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, describes the three stages of labor: early labor, active labor, and delivery of the placenta and afterbirth.
Once you reach your third trimester of pregnancy, it's time to start planning for your baby's birth. Whether you intend to go with conventional or natural childbirth, it's important to familiarize yourself with methods of pain management during labor and delivery. A class offered by your provider, hospital, or birth center can educate you about your options, as can instruction from a childbirth educator or a doula.
This video will illustrate the importance of prenatal education in reaching the full 40-weeks of pregnancy. It will explain the importance of maintaining a proper diet and nutrition, avoiding alcohol, drugs and cigarette smoke and controlling weight gain during pregnancy. It will provide guidance on natural, spontaneous labor that includes getting regular, prenatal checks, knowing warning signs to watch for and understanding the optimal window for brain and respiratory development. In addition, the program will discuss the dangers of using medications to induce labor, including long-term difficulties for children who are born pre-term, encouraging women to accept help and try to enjoy their pregnancies.
This incision enlarges the vagina to help with the delivery of a baby. Episiotomy can be helpful when the mother is at risk of vaginal tearing. It can be used for delivery of a large baby, to speed up a delivery, or for a breech delivery (when the baby is being delivered buttocks first). It can also create space for forceps or a vacuum device.
With up to one-third of pregnant women delivering by Cesarean section in the United States, it's important to know what to expect when it comes to your recovery after a Cesarean delivery. Being sent home with an incision on your belly can add to the anxiety that caring for a newborn can already cause, so here are some tips to take the worry out of caring for your C-section incision.