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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

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Your searched on: labor and delivery

Labor and Delivery
Is this topic for you? This topic provides basic information about normal labor and delivery. If you need information on pregnancy, other types of childbirth, or the first 6 weeks after childbirth (postpartum), see: Pregnancy Cesarean Section Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth...

Preterm Labor
What is preterm labor? Preterm labor is labor that comes too early—between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. In labor, the uterus contracts to open the cervix. This is the first stage of childbirth. In most pregnancies, this happens at 37 to 42 weeks. Preterm labor is also called premature labor. Preterm labor doesn't...

Childbirth: Opioid Pain Medicines
To help control the pain and stress of labor, you may get opioid pain medicines. The medicine can be put into a vein or into the muscle. Examples include fentanyl, morphine, and nalbuphine. Opioids can help suppress how you perceive pain and calm your emotional response to pain. They do this by reducing the number of...

Interactive Tool: From Embryo to Baby in 9 Months
Offers interactive tool that shows the growth of an embryo into a baby. Provides links to info on pregnancy and labor and delivery.

Childbirth: Laboring in Water and Water Delivery
Laboring in water Some hospitals and birthing centers offer tubs or whirlpools for labor. If yours does, talk to your doctor or midwife about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body. It also helps you to relax. For many women, laboring in water has been proved to: Reduce labor pain. Reduce the use of or...

Pregnancy and Childbirth
Provides links to info on pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Offers interactive tool to calculate your due date. Also links to interactive tool that shows how an embryo grows into a baby.

Childbirth: Epidurals
An epidural for childbirth, called an "epidural" for short, is a tiny tube that puts pain medicine directly into the area in your back around your spinal cord. This area is called the epidural space. An epidural can be used during childbirth to partly or fully numb the lower body. The amount of medicine you get will...

Spinal Block for Childbirth
Spinal anesthesia (spinal block) is a way to control pain using anesthetic medicine. It causes complete loss of feeling and muscle control below the waist. A spinal block is often used for an assisted delivery (such as a cesarean section or a delivery with forceps). Or it can be used when a delivery is happening fast...

Women's Health
Provides links to info on common concerns of women's health. Includes info on birth control, hormone therapy for menopause symptoms, abnormal pap tests, and fertility problems. Also looks at pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum period.

VBAC: Labor Induction
When labor does not start on its own and delivery needs to happen soon, contractions can be started (induced) with medicine. Some doctors avoid inducing labor when a woman is trying vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). But others are okay with the careful use of certain medicines to start labor. For a woman who has a...

Bed Rest for Preterm Labor
Expectant management is the close monitoring of a pregnancy for complications. It may involve some bed rest at home or in the hospital. Being on expectant management may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest). There is no evidence that...

Childbirth: Perineal Massage Before Labor
In women, the perineum is the muscle and tissue between the anus and the vulva. During childbirth, the perineum stretches and sometimes tears. One way to help prevent tearing is to stretch and massage the perineum for a few weeks before your due date. Studies show that women who did regular perineal massage reported...

Fetal Monitoring During Labor
What is fetal monitoring during labor? Fetal heart monitoring is a way to check the heart rate of your baby (fetus) during labor. The heart rate is a good way to find out if your baby is doing well. It can show if there is a problem. Monitoring may be done all the time during labor (continuous) or at set times...

Preterm Labor and Short Cervix
During pregnancy, the cervix is a closed and sealed tunnel between the uterus and the vagina. Before or during labor and delivery, the cervix stretches and flattens ( effacement). At 24 weeks of pregnancy, the average cervix is about 35 mm (1.4 in.) long. A short cervix has a length of less than 25 mm (1 in.). Women...

Breech Position and Breech Birth
What is breech position? During most of pregnancy, there is enough room in the uterus for the baby (fetus) to change position. By 36 weeks of pregnancy, most babies turn into a head-down position. This is the normal and safest fetal position for birth. But in about 4 out of 100 births, the baby doesn't naturally turn...

Doulas and Support During Childbirth
How does support help during labor and childbirth? Having support while you're in labor and delivering your baby can be a very positive experience. Your support person may be your partner, a loved one, or a friend. You may get support from hospital nurses, a midwife, or a birth coach, also known as a doula. Doulas give...

Childbirth Pain Relief Options
Learn about pain relief options for childbirth, including medical and nonmedical options.

Pregnancy: Should I Have an Epidural During Childbirth?
Guides you through decision to have an epidural during childbirth. Lists benefits and risks. Lists other ways to control labor pain. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Nonmedical Options for Pain Relief in Childbirth
Learn about nonmedical pain relief options for childbirth.

VBAC: Uterine Scar Rupture
The most rare yet most serious risk of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is that the scar on the uterus may break open (rupture) during labor. Women who have a low transverse cesarean scar have a lower risk of rupturing than women who have a vertical incision scar. About 5 out of 1,000 women (0.5%) with a low...

Fetal Fibronectin Test
During pregnancy, a uterine infection causes inflammation, which can trigger preterm labor. This inflammation can also stimulate the amnion cells to produce fetal fibronectin, a protein. Fetal fibronectin testing is sometimes done when someone has symptoms of preterm labor. If the test is negative, you probably aren't...

Bed Rest in Pregnancy
What is bed rest? Bed rest is limiting physical activity during your pregnancy. It can last a few weeks or even months. It may be at home or in the hospital. Your doctor may put you on partial bed rest or full bed rest. Partial bed rest usually means it's usually okay to sit, stand, or walk around for short periods of...

Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Covers causes, including high blood pressure and CAD. Discusses what increases your risk. Covers treatment with medicines, cardioversion, and catheter ablation.

Heart Rate Problems: Should I Get a Pacemaker?
Topic guides reader through decision to get a pacemaker for heart rate problems. Provides general overview of what pacemakers are and what heart problems can be helped with pacemakers. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting a pacemaker.

Heart Rhythm Problems: Should I Get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)?
Topic guides reader through decision to get an ICD for heart rhythm problems. Provides general overview of what ICDs are and what heart rhythm problems can be helped with ICDs. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting an ICD.

Multiple Pregnancy: Preterm Birth
Pregnancy normally lasts about 40 weeks. When delivery occurs between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy, it's called a preterm birth. A baby born early is called preterm (or premature). Preterm babies are sometimes called "preemies." Multiple pregnancies rarely last for the usual 40 weeks. For twins, the average time to...

Cervical Cerclage
Cervical cerclage (say "SER-vuh-kul ser-KLAZH") is a procedure that helps keep a pregnant woman's cervix from opening too soon before delivery. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. It leads to the vagina. During pregnancy, it is tightly closed to protect the baby. Normally, it doesn't open until the baby is ready...

Contractions During Pregnancy: What to Expect
Regular contractions may mean that your uterine muscle is tightening (Braxton Hicks contractions) or that you are in labor. It may be hard to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor. If there is any doubt, call your doctor. Braxton Hicks contractions During the second and third trimesters...

Change in Heartbeat
Briefly discusses how the heart works and what might cause minor or serious heartbeat changes. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

VBAC: Participation During Birth
You and your birth partner can take part more fully in a vaginal birth than you can in a cesarean delivery. During a cesarean, the mother gets either a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic. She can't fully take part in her baby's birth. Some mothers feel very strongly about being able to bond with the baby right...

Postural Management for Breech Position
By the end of a pregnancy, a fetus is typically positioned head-down (vertex), ready to pass head first through the birth canal. Sometimes a fetus is in a bottom-down, or breech, position as the due date approaches. Postural management is a way of attempting to turn a fetus from a breech to a vertex position by lying or...

Making a Birth Plan
A birth plan lets you write down your vision of an ideal birth and share it with your support person, the hospital or birth center, and your doctor or midwife. Your birth may not go as planned. But the process of making a plan can be a great way to get everyone on the same page about what you think you'd prefer. Here...

External Cephalic Version for Breech Position
At the end of most pregnancies, the baby's head is near the birth canal (vagina). But sometimes a baby's rear end or feet are near the birth canal. This position is called breech. If your baby stays in this breech position, you will probably need a cesarean section (C-section). Most breech babies are healthy and don't...

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