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Prenatal Growth and The Baby's Birth

Pregnancy Stages

Labor

Close to the time the baby will be born, the uterus gradually settles downward and forward. Mild, intermittent contractions as the muscles of the uterus tighten to push the baby down toward the vagina, and eventually out into the world, usually signal the start of labor. When the contractions come more often than every 10 minutes and last about 30 seconds, the doctor should be called. A small amount of pink discharge from the vagina is another sign of the start of labor. Once labor begins, no liquid or solid food should be taken.

Labor may last between 6 and 12 hours for a woman's first baby. The first stage of labor is the dilating (expanding) and thinning out of the cervix (the narrow opening to the uterus) to allow the baby's head to pass through. The contractions gradually intensify as this thinning occurs. If the membranes have not broken by the time the cervix has expanded about two inches, the doctor may break them.

Preparation for labor through Child Birth Classes for expectant parents have played an important role in recent years. Experts give information on the development of the baby, body changes related to pregnancy, and what happens in labor. Each session includes tips on special breathing exercises that are helpful during delivery. 

We encourage you to vistit our Child Birth Education pages,  and to enroll in a childbirth education course.

Continue on to
Pregnancy Stages
Delivery
 

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lsb 05/30/2002