Childbirth Health News

Childbirth is the process by which a pregnant woman delivers her baby into the world. The process begins with the baby moving lower into the pelvis and the beginning of contractions, or waves of pain that signal the start of labor. The cervix thins and opens up, and often the mucus plug that is blocking the cervix falls out. Amniotic fluid will begin to leak out, either in a gush or a slow trickle. These steps happen in different ways for different women, but they signal that the baby is ready to be born.

Labor has three stages: The first is the longest stage, and it involves the cervix fully opening to allow the baby to pass through. This might take many hours to occur. The second stage involves pushing and delivering the baby, and the third stage involves delivery of the placenta.

Childbirth Options

Childbirth varies from woman to woman, but it is almost always quite painful. Some women choose natural methods of childbirth, opting for natural means of coping with the challenges of labor and delivery. There are classes available to help with this process. In addition, there are also medical methods available for managing the pain during childbirth, including an epidural, which is a type of regional anesthetic that blocks the pain during labor.

In certain situations, such as when the baby is growing too slowly or the mother has a health complications, a health care provider might induce labor to begin the process of childbirth. Another birthing option that’s sometimes used in the event of complications is a cesarean delivery, often called a c-section. This is a major surgery in which the baby is removed through the mother’s abdomen.

Risks and Complications

Aside from the pain, which is a normal part of childbirth, a number of complications can occur during labor. For example, the water may break without labor beginning, or the mother can develop high blood pressure (preeclampsia). In such situations, inducing labor may be warranted. Sometimes, the baby may be in the wrong position, be showing distress or have problems with the location of the umbilical cord or the placenta. In those situations, health care providers might elect to perform a cesarean delivery.

SOURCES: U.S. Office on Women's Health

Date Posted
Article Title
7/10/2017
Dad-to-Be's Age Can Affect Fertility Treatment Success

Biggest effects seen for younger women with older men

6/30/2017
Teen Birth Rate Drops Again to All-Time Low: CDC

Preterm deliveries and births to older moms are up, report finds

6/15/2017
Medical Costs Soar for U.S. Babies Born Addicted to Opioids

Yearly price tag for their care now tops $300 million, researchers report

6/9/2017
Opioids Over-Prescribed After C-Sections: Studies

Pills women don't use may end up in the wrong hands, researchers suggest

6/6/2017
Just 10 Cigarettes During Pregnancy Can Harm Kids

Teens whose mothers smoked may have issues with thinking skills, study shows

5/30/2017
U.S. Teen Births Hit Historic Low: CDC

Data from 2014 also shows that more older women are having children, study finds

5/16/2017
Odds for C-Section May Depend on Hospital

Consumer Reports finds rates vary from 7 to 64 percent across U.S.

4/27/2017
Repeat Teen Births Still a Problem in United States: CDC

Too few teens use the most effective birth control after having a first baby

4/3/2017
Far Fewer Kids Are Dying Worldwide, but Gains Are Uneven

While study found great progress, problems persist in South Asia and parts of Africa

3/31/2017
Health Risks Grow as Young People Born With HIV Age

About 10,000 Americans were infected at birth, and many are now young adults with medical issues, study finds

3/28/2017
Study: Plenty of IV Fluids May Make Childbirth Safer, Easier

Review found it lowered risk of cesarean delivery, shortened labor

3/13/2017
Can Supplements Ward Off the 'Baby Blues'?

Researchers look to nutrients to offset temporary brain-chemical changes in new mothers

3/7/2017
Obesity in Pregnancy Tied to Cerebral Palsy Risk in Kids

But study authors stress that a cause-and-effect link wasn't proven

12/21/2016
Delay in Clamping Umbilical Cord Benefits Babies, Doctors Say

New guideline follows research showing that waiting 30 to 60 seconds boosts iron levels throughout 1st year

12/19/2016
Used Safely, Donor Breast Milk Can Help Preemie Babies

But pediatricians' group warns against informal 'milk-sharing' or buying it online

11/17/2016
Do Women Who Have Kids Later Live Longer?

Those who give birth at age 25 or older more likely to live to 90, study suggests

11/14/2016
Could C-Section Birth Raise Child's Risk of Obesity?

Study suggests passage through birth canal confers protective gut bacteria to newborns

11/9/2016
Premature Calcium Deposits May Trigger Premature Births

Mother's water can break too soon, researchers report

11/1/2016
Common Vaccine Safe for Mother, Fetus

Finding should reassure women who get Tdap shot to help protect their infant against whooping cough

11/1/2016
DNA May Influence Your Reproductive Decisions

Age of first childbirth involves more than just personal choice, study suggests

10/25/2016
Birthing Pool Not the Place to Deliver, New Guidelines Say

Immersion may help during early labor, but poses risks during delivery, ob-gyns advise

10/24/2016
'Laughing Gas' May Not Ease Pain During Childbirth: Study

Nitrous oxide gaining interest among expectant mothers in the United States, researchers report

10/18/2016
Expecting Twins or Triplets? What You Should Know Before They Arrive

They're double or triple the fun -- and the work -- but having a game plan helps, pediatricians say

10/13/2016
More U.S. Women Hope for Motherhood, With 2 Kids Ideal

Federal report finds half of those under 45 expect to have a child

10/6/2016
Prenatal Factors May Raise Child's Risk for OCD

Smoking and C-sections appear to boost the odds for the psychiatric disorder, study suggests

10/4/2016
C-Section Raises Risk of Blood Clots After Childbirth: Review

Chances highest among those getting emergency cesareans

9/29/2016
2nd Antibiotic Halves C-Section Infection Rate: Study

Two medications are better than one, researchers say

9/28/2016
U.S. Teen Births Hit Another Record Low: CDC

Less sex, more contraception is the 'magic' formula, experts say

9/27/2016
1st Baby Born With DNA From 3 Parents

Technique designed to help couples who carry rare genetic mutations

9/9/2016
Know Your Risk for Ovarian Cancer -- and the Symptoms

Because early signs are often easy to ignore, 140,000 women worldwide die of the disease every year

8/19/2016
Steroid Treatments May Boost Preemies' Risk of Eye Problems

Babies with very low birth weights are often given steroids to improve lung function

8/17/2016
New Moms' Hair Loss Usually Temporary, Expert Says

Blame falling estrogen levels, and use these expert tips to conceal post-partum shedding

8/16/2016
Celiac Disease Risk May Be Tied to Time, Place of Birth

Swedish study finds lower risk of the digestive disorder in babies born in winter or cooler climates

7/26/2016
Put Birth Control in Place Right After Childbirth

Placement of IUD, contraceptive implant after delivery helps prevent accidental pregnancy, doctors advise

7/12/2016
If 1st Baby's Early, 2nd Will Be Too: Study

Chances just as high for women who go into labor naturally as those who are induced

6/16/2016
Boost Minimum Wage and Babies Benefit: Study

Suggests a $1 increase linked to 4 percent drop in infant deaths, fewer low birth weight babies

6/15/2016
Antibiotics, Formula Feeding Might Change Baby's 'Microbiome'

C-section birth may also diminish diversity of these colonies of helpful microbes, study shows

6/7/2016
Upside of Late Delivery: Possible Brain Boost?

Researchers find higher test scores during school years, but also risk of physical disabilities

5/19/2016
Prior C-Section Raises Risk of Complications With Home Birth

Experts point to lack of constant fetal monitoring, inability to perform emergency delivery if needed

4/28/2016
Teen Birth Rate at Record Low in U.S.

They're delaying sex, using more effective birth control, CDC researcher says

4/25/2016
Fewer Children May Explain Why More Women Now Outlive Men

As number of births started to decline century ago, females began living longer than males, researchers suggest

4/25/2016
Female Pelvis Widens, Then Shrinks Over a Lifetime, Study Finds

Timing of shifts, at puberty and menopause, suggest that estrogen is steering changes, researcher says

4/18/2016
Have Scientists Found 'Virginity Genes'?

Study suggests link between timing of first sex, first baby and DNA

3/31/2016
Flu Shot Might Cut Stillbirth Risk

Australian researchers find possible link in large-scale study

3/29/2016
Preterm Births Tied to Smog Cost U.S. Billions

Researchers estimate toll of dirty air that triggers early birth can exceed $4 billion a year

3/24/2016
More U.S. Women Delivering Babies at Home or Birth Centers

Most tended to be low-risk pregnancies and Pacific Northwest saw greatest increase, study finds

3/2/2016
Inducing Labor May Not Boost C-Section Risk

Study also found that prompting delivery in 39th week did not affect health of baby or mother

3/1/2016
Study Finds Shortage of Surgeries in World's Poorest Countries

Report reveals 'huge disparities' around the globe

2/26/2016
Urinary Incontinence Risk Rises Slightly After Vaginal Birth, Study Finds

But the risks that come with an elective C-section must be considered as well, experts say

2/23/2016
Prenatal Use of HIV Drug May Slow Child's Development Slightly

Small language delays seen in babies after mothers took atazanavir to prevent transmission of virus