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
Ob/Gyns Warn Against 'Vaginal Seeding' Trend for Newborns

Transferring microbes from the mom to her infant born via C-section comes with infection risk

Summer Baby, Higher Odds for Postpartum Depression?

Season of delivery and other factors may influence the risk, study finds

Incision Length Linked to Pain After Cesarean

Too short or too long may up discomfort, study suggests

Lying Down After an Epidural: A Smart Idea?

Study found it increased chances of having a normal delivery

Study Debunks Notion That Epidurals Prolong Labor

Women had similar outcomes whether they got the anesthetic or a 'dummy' placebo

Study Questions Practice of Placenta Eating by New Moms

It may be potentially dangerous, researchers say

IUD Won't Interfere With Breast-Feeding

No reason to delay this type of birth control after having a baby

1 in 5 Moms Mum About Post-Pregnancy Blues

Strong support networks increase chances a woman will reveal her symptoms, study says

Hep B Vaccine Should Be Given Sooner: Pediatricians Group

Shot should come within 24 hours of delivery, and not at first checkup

Dad-to-Be's Age Can Affect Fertility Treatment Success

Biggest effects seen for younger women with older men

Teen Birth Rate Drops Again to All-Time Low: CDC

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

Medical Costs Soar for U.S. Babies Born Addicted to Opioids

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

Opioids Over-Prescribed After C-Sections: Studies

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

Just 10 Cigarettes During Pregnancy Can Harm Kids

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

U.S. Teen Births Hit Historic Low: CDC

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

Odds for C-Section May Depend on Hospital

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

Repeat Teen Births Still a Problem in United States: CDC

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

Far Fewer Kids Are Dying Worldwide, but Gains Are Uneven

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

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

Study: Plenty of IV Fluids May Make Childbirth Safer, Easier

Review found it lowered risk of cesarean delivery, shortened labor

Can Supplements Ward Off the 'Baby Blues'?

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

Obesity in Pregnancy Tied to Cerebral Palsy Risk in Kids

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

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

Used Safely, Donor Breast Milk Can Help Preemie Babies

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

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

Could C-Section Birth Raise Child's Risk of Obesity?

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

Premature Calcium Deposits May Trigger Premature Births

Mother's water can break too soon, researchers report

Common Vaccine Safe for Mother, Fetus

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

DNA May Influence Your Reproductive Decisions

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

Birthing Pool Not the Place to Deliver, New Guidelines Say

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

'Laughing Gas' May Not Ease Pain During Childbirth: Study

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

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