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Encyclopedia > Childbirth

Childbirth (also called labour, birth, partus or parturition) is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the delivery of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus. The process of human childbirth is categorized in 3 stages of labour. The first stage accomplishes the shortening and then the dilation of the cervix. It is deemed to have started when the cervix is 3 cm long, and ends with full dilation. The second stage starts when the cervix is fully dilated and ends with the expulsion of the fetus. In the third stage, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and is expelled through the birth canal.[1] The latent phase of labor causes confusion with many. Latent phase may last many days and the contractions are an intensification of the Braxton-Hicks contractions that start around 26 weeks gestation. Cervical effacement may be accomplished fully. Latent phase ends with the onset of active first stage; when the cervix is three cm. dilated. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... This article is about modern humans. ... This article is about human pregnancy in biological females. ... Gestation is the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside a female viviparous animal. ... “Baby” redirects here. ... Diverse women. ... This article is about female reproductive anatomy. ... The placenta is a sack of fat present in placental vertebrates, such as some mammals and sharks during gestation (pregnancy). ...


The mechanical challenge

Human birth is challenged by two evolutionary problems: humans are bipedal with an erect stance, and humans have relatively the biggest head and shoulders to the size of the pelvis, of any species.

The erect posture causes the weight of the abdominal contents to thrust on the pelvic floor, a complex structure which must not only support this weight but allow three channels to pass through it: the urethra, the vagina and the anus. The relatively large head and shoulders require a specific sequence of manoeuvres to occur for the bony head and shoulders to pass through the bony ring of the pelvis. If these manoeuvres fail, the progress of labour is arrested. All changes in the soft tissues of the cervix and the birth canal are entirely dependent on the successful completion of these six manoeuvres:

  1. Engagement of the fetal head in the transverse position. The baby is looking across the pelvis and one or other of the mother's hips.
  2. Descent and flexion of the fetal head
  3. Internal rotation. The fetal head rotates 90 degrees to the occipito-anterior position. The baby is now looking at the mothers rectum
  4. Delivery by extension. The fetal head passes out of the birth canal, looking upwards as it does so.
  5. Restitution. The fetal head turns through 45 degrees to restore its normal relationship with the shoulders, which are still at an angle.
  6. External rotation. As the shoulders repeat the corkscrew movements that the head has just done, these events can be seen in the final movements of the fetal head.

These movements are all due to the relationship of the bony head and shoulders of the fetus to the bony ring of the pelvis and are independent of any changes in the maternal soft tissues.

The stages of normal human birth

Latent phase

The latent phase of labor causes confusion with many. Latent phase may last many days and the contractions are an intensification of the Braxton-Hicks contractions that start around 26 weeks gestation. Cervical effacement occurs the the closing weeks of pregnancy and is usually complete or near complete, by the end of latent phase. Cervical effacement is the incorporation of the cervix to form the lower segment of the cervix. The muscular portion of the uterus is the upper segment, and is made of non-striated muscle. The lower segment of the uterus has no muscles and is comprised of the cervix itself, which becomes massively stretched and thinned out. This cervical effacement will usually be accomplished fully prior to the onset of labor. The degree of cervical effacement may be felt during a vaginal examination. A 'long' cervix implies that not much has been taken into the lower segment, and vice versa for a 'short' cervix. Latent phase ends with the onset of active first stage; when the cervix is three cm. dilated.

Mother and newborn with umbilical cord still attached after a water birth

Image File history File links Normal_Childbirth. ... Image File history File links Normal_Childbirth. ... In placental mammals, the umbilical cord is a tube that connects a developing embryo or fetus to the placenta. ... Water birth is a method of giving birth in a bathtub or pool full of warm water. ...

First stage: contractions

The first stage of labor is an active stage and should not be confused with the latent phase of labor.

The first stage of labor starts classically when the effaced cervix is 3 cm dilated. There is variation in this point as some patients may present a little before this point with active contraction, or later, without regular contractions. The onset of actual labor is defined when the cervix begins to progressively dilate. Rupture of the membranes, or a blood stained 'show' may or may not occur at around this stage.

Uterine muscles form opposing spirals from the top of the upper segment of the uterus to its junction with the lower segment. During effacement, the cervix becomes incorporated into the lower segment. During a contraction, these muscles contract causing shortening of the upper segment and drawing upwards of the lower segment, in a gradual expulsive motion. This draws the cervix up over the baby's head. Full dilatation is reached when the cervix is the size of the baby's head; at around 10cm dilation for a term baby. The cervix (from Latin neck) is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. ...

The duration of labour varies widely, but active phase averages some 8 hours for women giving birth to their first child ("primiparae") and 4 hours for women who have already given birth ("multiparae"). [2]

Second stage: delivery

This stage begins when the cervix is fully dilated, and ends when the baby is finally delivered. At the beginning of the normal second stage, the head is fully engaged in the pelvis; the widest diameter of the head has successfully passed through the pelvic brim. Ideally it has successfully also passed below the interspinous diameter. This is the narrowest part of the pelvis. If these have been accomplished, all that will remain is for the fetal head to pass below the pubic arch and out though the introitus. This is assisted by the additional maternal efforts of "bearing down." The fetal head is seen to 'crown' as the labia part. At this point the woman may feel a burning or stinging sensation.

Delivery of the fetal head signals the successful completion of the fourth mechanism of labor (delivery by extension), and is followed by the fifth and sixth mechanisms (restitution and external rotation).

A newborn baby with umbilical cord ready to be clamped

The second stage of labor will vary to some extent, depending on how successfully the preceding tasks have been accomplished. Image File history File links Umbilical-newborn. ... Image File history File links Umbilical-newborn. ...

Abnormalities of second stage

Delays in second stage may be caused by:

  1. - malpresentaion of the fetal head
  2. - failure of descent of the fetal head through the pelvic brim or the interspinous diameter
  3. - poor uterine contraction strength
  4. - a big baby and a small pelvis.

These factors will lead to prolongation of the second stage of labor. Secondary changes may be observed: swelling of the tissues, maternal exhaustion, fetal heart rate abnormalities. Left untreated, severe complications include death of mother or baby, and genitovaginal fistula. These are commonly seen in Third World countries where births are often unattended or attended by poorly trained community members.

Third stage: placenta

In this stage, the uterus expels the placenta (afterbirth). Maternal blood loss is limited by the compression of the spiral arteries of the uterus as they pass though the lattice-like uterine muscles of the upper segment. Normal blood loss is less than 600 mL. The placenta is a sack of fat present in placental vertebrates, such as some mammals and sharks during gestation (pregnancy). ... The millilitre is the equivalent of a cubic centimetre. ...

Breastfeeding during and after the third stage

Image File history File links Thirdstage. ... Image File history File links Thirdstage. ...

Management of third stage

Third stage is managed either expectantly or actively. Active management utilizes oxytocic agents to augment uterine muscular contraction. This contraction acts both to shear off the placental attachment and to compress the spiral arteries. Controlled cord traction assists with rapid delivery of the placenta. Expectant management allows the placenta to be expelled without assistance.

A Cochrane database study[3] suggests strongly that blood loss and the risk of postpartum bleeding will be reduced in women offered active management of the third stage of labour. The use of ergometrine was associated with nausea or vomiting and hypertension. Ergometrine is no longer available. The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases in medicine and other healthcare specialties provided by the Cochrane Collaboration. ... Obstetrical hemorrhage refers to heavy bleeding during pregnancy, labor, or the puerperium. ...

After the birth

Medical professionals typically recommend breastfeeding of the first milk, colostrum, to reduce postpartum bleeding/hemorrhage in the mother, and to pass immunities and other benefits to the baby. An infant breastfeeding International Breastfeeding Symbol (Matt Daigle, Mothering magazine contest winner 2006) Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with milk from a womans breasts. ... Not to be confused with claustrum. ...

Parents usually bestow the infant its given name soon after birth. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Anthroponym. ...

Often people visit and bring a gift for the baby. Love gift Man presents a cut of meat to a youth with a hoop. ...

Many cultures feature initiation rites for newborns, such as naming ceremonies, baptism, and others. Initiation rites are formalized, ceremonial rites of passage as an individual moves from stage to stage within a social career or formally acquires such status. ... This article is about the Christian religious act of Baptism. ...

Mothers are often allowed a period where they are relieved of their normal duties to recover from childbirth. The length of this period varies. In China it is 30 days and is referred to as "doing the month" or "sitting month" (see Postpartum period). In other countries taking time off from work to care for a newborn is called "maternity leave" and varies from a few days to several months. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Induction of labor

If there is a significant medical risk to continuing the pregnancy, induction may be necessary. There is a increased risk of uterine rupture in women that have had a previous cesarean section, who undergo induction. Induction is a way of artificially bringing on labour in a woman. ...


When the amniotic sac has not ruptured during labour or pushing, the infant can be born with the membranes intact. This is referred to as "being born in the caul." The caul is harmless and its membranes are easily broken and wiped away. In medieval times, and in some cultures still today, a caul was seen as a sign of good fortune for the baby, even giving the child psychic gifts such as clairvoyance, and in some cultures was seen as protection against drowning. The caul was often impressed onto paper and stored away as an heirloom for the child. With the advent of modern interventive obstetrics, premature artificial rupture of the membranes has become common, so babies are rarely born in the caul. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945) was one of the best-known American psychics of the 20th century and made many highly publicized predictions. ... Clairvoyance, from 17th century French Clair meaning clear and voyant meaning seeing, is a term used to describe the transference of information about an object, location or physical event through means other than the 5 traditional senses (See Psi). ... For other uses, see Antique (disambiguation). ...


Pain levels reported by laboring women vary widely. This variation is not dissimilar for perceived pain in other situations. Pain levels seem to be influenced by fear and anxiety levels, experience with prior childbirth, cultural ideas of childbirth and pain, mobility during labour and the support given during labor.

Non-medical pain control

Some women believe that analgesic medication is unnatural, or believe that it may harm the child. They still can alleviate labour pain using psychological preparation, education, massage, hypnosis, or water therapy in a tub or shower. Some women like to have someone to support them during labour and birth, such as the woman's mother, a sister, the father of the baby, a close friend, a partner or a doula. Some women deliver in a squatting or crawling position in order to more effectively push during the second stage and so that gravity can aid the descent of the baby through the birth canal. An analgesic (colloquially known as a painkiller) is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain (achieve analgesia). ... A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and during the postpartum period. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ...

The human body also has its own method of pain control for labour and childbirth in the form of beta-endorphins. As a naturally occurring opiate, beta-endorphin has properties similar to pethidine, morphine, and heroin, and has been shown to work on the same receptors of the brain.[4] Like oxytocin, beta-endorphin is secreted from the pituitary gland, and high levels are present during sex, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. This hormone can induce feelings of pleasure and euphoria during childbirth.[5] For other uses see Opiate (disambiguation), or for the class of drugs see Opioid. ... For other uses, see Endorphin (disambiguation). ... Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) (also referred to as: isonipecaine; lidol; pethanol; piridosal; Algil®; Alodan®; Centralgin®; Demerol®; Dispadol®; Dolantin®; Dolargan® (in Poland);[1] Dolestine®; Dolosal®; Dolsin®; Mefedina®) is a fast-acting opioid analgesic drug. ... This article is about the drug. ... For other uses, see Heroin (disambiguation). ... In biochemistry, a receptor is a protein on the cell membrane or within the cytoplasm or cell nucleus that binds to a specific molecule (a ligand), such as a neurotransmitter, hormone, or other substance, and initiates the cellular response to the ligand. ... The human brain In animals, the brain (enkephalos) (Greek for in the skull), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for behavior. ... Oxytocin (Greek: quick birth) is a mammalian hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. ...

Water birth is an option chosen by some women for pain relief during labour and childbirth, and some studies have shown waterbirth in an uncomplicated pregnancy to reduce the need for analgesia, without evidence of increased risk to mother or newborn.[6] The American Academy of Pediatrics considers underwater birthing "an experimental procedure that should not be performed except within the context of an appropriately designed [randomized controlled trial] after informed parental consent."[7] Water birth is a method of giving birth in a bathtub or pool full of warm water. ...

Hot water tubs are available in many hospitals and birthing centres. Actual waterbirth however is rare in the established health care system.

Meditation and mind medicine techniques for the use of pain control during labor and delivery. These techniques are used in conjunction with progressive muscle relaxation and many other forms of relaxation for the mind and body to aid in pain control for women during childbirth. These techniques are a form of natural pain control. One such technique is the use of hypnosis in childbirth. This technique is a form of meditation that empowers and liberates the woman by uplifting her body and its natural process to welcoming her new child into the world.[citation needed] For other senses of this word, see Meditation (disambiguation). ... Hypnotherapy is becoming more and more popular for use during pregnancy and childbirth. ...

Medical pain control

In some countries of Europe, doctors commonly prescribe inhaled nitrous oxide gas for pain control; in the UK, midwives may use this gas without a doctor's prescription. Pethidine (with or without promethazine) may be used early in labour, as well as other opioids, but if given too close to birth there is a risk of respiratory depression in the infant. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Nitrous oxide (disambiguation). ... Pethidine (INN) or meperidine (USAN) (also referred to as: isonipecaine; lidol; pethanol; piridosal; Algil®; Alodan®; Centralgin®; Demerol®; Dispadol®; Dolantin®; Dolargan® (in Poland);[1] Dolestine®; Dolosal®; Dolsin®; Mefedina®) is a fast-acting opioid analgesic drug. ... Promethazine is a first-generation H1 receptor antagonist antihistamine and antiemetic medication. ... An opioid is a chemical substance that has a morphine-like action in the body. ...

Popular medical pain control in hospitals include the regional anesthetics epidural blocks, and spinal anaesthesia. Doctors and many parents favor the epidural block because medication does not enter the woman's circulatory system, thus it does not cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of the fetus. Some studies find that although epidural use can lengthen the labour and increase the need for operative intervention, it has no adverse effect on perinatal outcome, and is a safe and effective method of pain control.[8] An epidural catheter after insertion. ... Spinal anaesthesia is a form of local, or more specifically regional, anaesthesia involving injection of a local anaesthetic into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), generally through a long fine needle. ...

Different measures for pain control have varying degrees of success and side effects to the woman and her baby. The risks of medical pain control should be balanced against the fact that childbirth can be extremely painful, and anesthetics are an effective and generally safe way to control pain.

Complications and risks of birth

Complications can occur during childbirth.

Infant deaths (neonatal deaths from birth to 28 days, or perinatal deaths if including fetal deaths at 28 weeks gestation and later) are around 1% in modernized countries. The maternal mortatlity (MMR)rate varies from 9/100,000 live births in the US and Europe, to 900/100,000 live births in Sub-Saharan Africa. [1] The "natural" mortality rate of childbirth—where nothing is done to avert maternal death—has been estimated as being between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths per 100,000 births.[9] (See main article: neonatal death, maternal death) Perinatal mortality (PNM), also perinatal death, refers to the death of a fetus or neonate and is the basis to calculate the perinatal mortality rate. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Maternal health. ...

Emergency airlift of woman in labor by the US Coast Guard

The most important factors affecting mortality in childbirth are adequate nutrition and access to quality medical care ("access" is affected both by the cost of available care, and distance from health services). "Medical care" in this context does not refer specifically to treatment in hospitals, but simply routine prenatal care and the presence, at the birth, of an attendant with birthing skills. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Nutrition Facts table indicates the amounts of nutrients which experts recommend you limit or consume in adequate amounts. ... A doctor performs a prenatal exam. ...

A 1983-1989 study by the Texas Department of Health highlighted the differences in neonatal mortality (NMR) between high risk and low risk pregnancies. NMR was 0.57% for doctor-attended high risk births, and 0.19% for low risk births attended by non-nurse midwives. Conversely, some studies demonstrate a higher perinatal mortality rate with assisted home births.[10] Around 80% of pregnancies are low-risk. Factors that may make a birth high risk include prematurity, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and a previous cesarean section. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes found in pregnant women. ... A caesarean section (cesarean section AE), is a surgical incision through a mothers abdomen (laparotomy) and uterus (hysterotomy) to deliver one or more fetuses. ...

Birthing complication may be maternal or fetal, and long term or short term.

Maternal risks:

Hemorrhage is still the biggest killer of birthing mothers in the world today especially in the developing world. Heavy blood loss leads to hypovolemic shock, insufficient perfusion of vital organs and death if not rapidly treated. Blood transfusion may be life saving. Rare sequelae include Hypopituitarism Sheehan's syndrome. In physiology and medicine, hypovolemia is a state of decreased blood volume. ... Hypopituitarism is a medical term describing deficiency (hypo) of one or more hormones of the pituitary gland. ... Sheehan syndrome, also known as postpartum hypopituitarism or postpartum pituitary necrosis, is hypopituitarism (decreased functioning of the pituitary gland), caused by necrosis due to blood loss and hypovolemic shock during and after childbirth. ...

Infection remains a major cause if mortality and morbidity in the developing world today. The work of Ignaz Semmelweis was seminal in the pathophysiology and treatment of puerperal fever and saved many lives. Ignaz Semmelweis (1860 portrait): advised handwashing with a chlorinated-lime solution in 1847. ... Puerperal fever (from the latin puer, child), also called childbed fever or puerperal sepsis, is a serious form of septicaemia contracted by a woman during or shortly after childbirth or abortion. ...

Vaginal birth injury with visible tears or episiotomies are common. Internal tissue tearing as well as nerve damage to the pelvic structures lead in a proportion of women to problems with prolapse, incontinence of stool or urine and sexual dysfunction. Fifteen percent of women become incontinent, to some degree, of stool or urine after normal delivery, this number rising considerably after these women reach menopause. Vaginal birth injury is a necessary, but not sufficient, cause of all non hysterectomy related prolapse in later life. Risk factors for significant vaginal birth injury include:

  1. a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  2. the use of forceps or vacuum for delivery. These markers are more likely to be signals for other abnormalities as forceps or vacuum are not used in normal deliveries.
  3. the need to repair large tears after delivery

Pelvic girdle pain. Hormones and enzymes work together to produce ligamentous relaxation and widening of the symphysis pubis during the last trimester of pregnancy. Most girdle pain occurs before birthing, and is know as diastasis of the pubic symphysis. Predisposing factors for girdle pain include maternal obesity. Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy Historical articles show that pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain has been recognizes for centuries. ...

Fetal complications:

Intrapartum asphyxia: The term Fetal distress is emotive and misleading. True intrapartum asphyxia is the impairment of oxygen to the brain and vital tissues during the progress of labor. This may exist in a pregnancy already impaired by maternal or fetal disease, or may rarely arise de novo in labor. True intrapartum asphyxia is not as common as previously believed, and is usually accompanied by multiple other symptoms during the immediate period after delivery. Monitoring might show up problems during birthing, but the interpretation and use of monitoring devices is complex and prone to misinterpretation. In medicine (obstetrics), fetal distress is the presence of signs in a pregnant woman—before or during childbirth—that the fetus is not well or is becoming excessively fatigued. ...

Mechanical fetal injury

Risk factors for fetal birth injury include fetal macrosomia (big baby), maternal obesity, the need for instrumental delivery, and an inexperienced attendant. Specific situtations that can contribute to birth injury include breech presentation and shoulder dystocia. Most fetal birth injuries resolve without long term harm, but brachial plexus injury may lead to Erb's palsy. Dystocia (antonym eutocia) is an abnormal or difficult childbirth. ... The brachial plexus is an arrangement of nerve fibres (a plexus) running from the spine (vertebrae C5-T1), through the neck, the axilla (armpit region), and into the arm. ... Erbs Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Paralysis, is a condition which mainly due to birth trauma can affect 1 or all of the 5 primary nerves that supply the movement and feeling to an arm. ...

Neonatal infection

Neonates are prone to infection in the first month of life. Some organisms such as S. agalactiae (Group B Steptococcus) or (GBS) are more prone to cause these occasionally fatal infections. Risk factors for GBS infection include: Binomial name Lehmann and Neumann, 1896 Streptococcus agalactiae also known as Group B Streptococcus is a gram-positive streptococcus characterized by the presence of group B Lancefield antigen. ...

  1. prematurity
  2. a sibling who has had a GBS infection
  3. prolonged labor or rupture of membranes

Instrumental delivery (Forceps and Ventouse)

  • The woman will have her legs supported in stirrups.
  • If an anaesthetic is not already in place it will be given.
  • Episiotomy might be needed.
  • A Trial Forceps might be performed, which is abandoned in favor of a caesarean section if delivery is not optimal.

Twins and multiple births

Twins can be delivered vaginally. In some cases twin delivery is done in a larger delivery room or in theatre, just in case complications occur e.g.

  • Both twins born vaginally - one comes normally but the other is breech and/or helped by a forceps/ventouse delivery
  • One twin born vaginally and the other by caesarean section.
  • If the twins are joined at any part of the body - called conjoined twins, delivery is mostly by caesarean section.

Triplets or more are always delivered by caesarean section.

Professions associated with childbirth

Midwives may be licensed and registered, or may be lay practitioners. Jurisdictions with legislated midwives will typically have a registering and disciplinary body, such as a College of Midwifery. Midwives are trained a licensed to provide care to low risk pregnant mothers. Registered midwives are trained to assist at births, either through direct-entry or nurse-midwifery programs. Lay midwives, who are usually not licensed or registered, typically gain experience with other experienced lay midwives. // Midwifery is the term traditionally used to describe the art of assisting a woman through childbirth. ...

Obstetricians are experts in dealing with normal and abnormal births and pathological labor conditions. Obstetricians are trained surgeons, so they can undertake surgical procedures relating to childbirth. Such procedures include cesarean sections, episiotomies, or assisted delivery. Most Obstetricians also provide gynecological care, and may have a primary, well woman, care element to their practices Obstetrics (from the Latin obstare, to stand by) is the surgical specialty dealing with the care of a woman and her offspring during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (the period shortly after birth). ... A caesarean section (cesarean section AE), is a surgical incision through a mothers abdomen (laparotomy) and uterus (hysterotomy) to deliver one or more fetuses. ... Medio-lateral episiotomy as baby crowns. ...

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are experts in managing and treating high-risk pregnancy and delivery. They are usually obstetricians This article does not cite its references or sources. ...

Obstetric nurses assist midwives, doctors, women, and babies prior to, during, and after the birth process, in the hospital system. Some midwives are also obstetric nurses. Obstetric nurses hold various certifications and typically undergo additional obstetric training in addition to standard nursing training To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article is about the occupation. ... In the US and Canada, many nurses who choose a specialty become certified in that area, signifying that they possess expert knowledge. ... Nursing school is a type of educational institution, or part thereof, where people undergo formal education and training to become a nurse. ...

Doulas are assistants who support mothers during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. They are not medical attendants; rather, they provide emotional support and non-medical pain relief for women during labor. A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and during the postpartum period. ...

Emergency Medical Technicians

Social aspects

In most cultures, childbirth is considered to be the beginning of a person's life, and their age is defined relative to it. For other uses, see Life (disambiguation). ...

Some families view the placenta as a special part of birth, since it has been the child's life support for so many months. Some parents like to see and touch this organ. In some cultures, parents plant a tree along with the placenta on the child's first birthday. The placenta may be eaten by the newborn's family, ceremonially or otherwise. [citation needed] The placenta is a sack of fat present in placental vertebrates, such as some mammals and sharks during gestation (pregnancy). ... For other uses, see Birthday (disambiguation). ... Mother goat eating placenta Rat eating its offsprings placenta after birth Placentophagy (from placenta + Greek φαγειν, to eat) is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. ...

Psychological aspects

Childbirth can be a stressful event. As with any stressful event, strong emotions can be brought to the surface.

Some women report symptoms compatible with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after birth. Between 70 and 80% of mothers in the United States report some feelings of sadness or "baby blues" after childbirth. Postpartum depression may develop in some women; about 10% of mothers in the United States are diagnosed with this condition. Abnormal and persistent fear of childbirth is known as tokophobia. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term for certain severe psychological consequences of exposure to, or confrontation with, stressful events that the person experiences as highly traumatic. ... Postpartum depression (also postnatal depression) is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, after childbirth. ... Fear of childbirth is not an isolated problem but associated with the womans personal characteristics, mainly general anxiety, low self-esteem, and clinical depression, as well as dissatisfaction with their partnership, and lack of support. ... Fear of childbirth is not an isolated problem but associated with the womans personal characteristics, mainly general anxiety, low self-esteem, and clinical depression, as well as dissatisfaction with their partnership, and lack of support. ...

Preventative group therapy has proven effective as a prophylactic treatment for postpartum depression.[11]

There are some who argue that childbirth is stressful for the infant. Stresses associated with breech birth, such as asphyxiation, may affect the infant's brain. Breech, by W.Smellie, 1792 A breech birth (also known as breech presentation) refers to the position of the baby in the uterus such that it will be delivered buttocks first as opposed to the normal head first position. ... Perinatal asphyxia is the medical condition resulting from deprivation of oxygen (hypoxia) to a newborn infant long enough to cause apparent harm. ...

Partner and other support

There is increasing evidence to show that the participation of the woman's partner in the birth leads to better birth and also post-birth outcomes, providing the partner does not exhibit excessive anxiety.[12] Research also shows that when a labouring woman was supported by a female helper such as a family member or doula during labour, she had less need for chemical pain relief, the likelihood of caesarean section was reduced, use of forceps and other instrumental deliveries were reduced and there was a reduction in the length of labour and the baby had a higher Apgar score (Dellman 2004, Vernon 2006). The role of men in childbirth in the western world is becoming more involved than it has been in the past. ... A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and during the postpartum period. ... The Apgar score was devised in 1952 by Virginia Apgar as a simple and repeatable method to quickly and summarily assess the health of newborn children immediately after childbirth. ...

It is the traditional history of home labour that makes The Netherlands an attractive site for studies related to birth. One third of all baby deliveries there are still happening at home in contrast with other western industrialized countries. Apparently, Dutch fathers have been in the scene of labor for a long time as can be observed in paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

During this study, it was found that fathers can have different roles during birth and that little is said about the conflicts between partners or partners and professionals. Among other findings were also: the interpretation of the presence of fathers during birth as a modern version of the anthropological couvade ritual to ease the woman's pain; the majority of fathers did not perceive any limitation to participate in their childbirth and upper generations did not play an important rule in the transmission of knowledge about birth to those fathers but the wives, feminine acquaintances and midwives. The term Couvade is derived from the early French word (Couver to hatch) and custom where the father, during or immediately after the birth of a child, takes to bed, complains of having labour pains, and is accorded the treatment usually shown women during pregnancy or after childbirth. ...

The research was based, mainly, on in-depth interviews, where fathers described what was happening from their partner’s first signals of birth labour until the placenta delivery.

Postnatal care

Main article: Postnatal

Postnatal (Latin for after birth) is the period beginning immediately after the birth of a child and extending for about six weeks. ...

Well known authors on childbirth

Janet Balaskas is an author, founder of the Active Birth Movement, childbirth educator and mother of four children. ... Jeannine Parvati Baker Jeannine Parvati Baker (June 1, 1949 - December 1, 2005) was a midwife, herbalist, author, homebirth and no-circumcision activist. ... See Bradley method (disambiguation) for other uses of the term Bradley method. ... Ina May Gaskin is a Certified Professional Midwife, who has been described as the mother of authentic midwifery. ... Sheila Kitzinger is a midwife, natural birth activist and author on childbirth and pregnancy. ... Frederick Leboyer (born 1918) is a French obstetrician, best known for his 1975 book Birth Without Violence, which popularized the practice of water birthing. ... Michel Odent, MD is a French obstetrician, known for his pioneering work in researching and developing birth centres, water birth and low intervention birth. ... Dr. William Sears (fl. ... Miriam Stoppard (nee Miriam Moore-Robinson) is a British physician, author, television presenter and agony aunt. ... David Vernon is an Australian writer. ...

See also

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Image File history File links WikiNews-Logo. ... Wikinews is a free-content news source and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Pre- and perinatal psychology is the study of the psychological implications of the earliest experiences of the individual, before (prenatal) and during (perinatal) childbirth. ... Postnatal (Latin for after birth) is the period beginning immediately after the birth of a child and extending for about six weeks. ... The Lamaze Technique is a prepared childbirth technique developed in the 1940s by French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze as an alternative to the use of medical intervention during labor. ... Natalism is the belief that human reproduction is the basis for individual existence. ... Home birth is childbirth that occurs outside a hospital or birthing center setting, usually in the home of the mother. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... Water birth is a method of giving birth in a bathtub or pool full of warm water. ... Hypnotherapy is becoming more and more popular for use during pregnancy and childbirth. ... Pre-labor, also called Prodromal Labor is the early signs before labor starts. ... An asynclitic birth refers to the position of a baby in the uterus such that the head is tilted to the side[1]. Most asynclitism corrects spontaneously in the progess of normal labor. ...

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  1. ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2006 Columbia University Press
  2. ^ Peisner DB, Rosen MG: Transition from latent to active labor. Obstet Gynecol 68:448, 1986.
  3. ^ Prendiville WJ, Elbourne D, McDonald S. (2000). "Active versus expectant management in the third stage of labour.". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD000007. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000007. 
  4. ^ H H Loh, L F Tseng, E Wei, and C H Li Beta-endorphin is a potent analgesic agent. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 August; 73(8): 2895–2898.
  5. ^ M. Brinsmead et al., "Peripartum Concentrations of Beta Endorphin and Cortisol and Maternal Mood States," Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 25 (1985): 194-197
  6. ^ Eberhard J, Stein S, Geissbuehler V (2005). "Experience of pain and analgesia with water and land births". Journal of psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology 26 (2): 127–33. PMID 16050538. 
  7. ^ Pediatrics 2005;115;1413-1414
  8. ^ Thorp JA, Breedlove G (1996). "Epidural analgesia in labor: an evaluation of risks and benefits". Birth (Berkeley, Calif.) 23 (2): 63–83. PMID 8826170. 
  9. ^ Van Lerberghe W, De Brouwere V. Of blind alleys and things that have worked: history’s lessons on reducing maternal mortality. In: De Brouwere V, Van Lerberghe W, eds. Safe motherhood strategies: a review of the evidence. Antwerp, ITG Press, 2001 (Studies in Health Services Organisation and Policy, 17:7–33).
  10. ^ Perinatal death associated with planned home birth in Australia: population based study. BMJ. 317(7155):384-8. Retrieved on May 28, 2005.
  11. ^ Zlotnick C, Johnson SL, Miller IW, Pearlstein T, Howard M. Postpartum depression in women receiving public assistance: pilot study of an interpersonal-therapy-oriented group intervention, Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;158(4):638-40. [PMID 11282702]
  12. ^ Men at Birth - Should your bloke be there?

  Results from FactBites:
Childbirth Connection: helping women and families make decisions for pregnancy, childbirth, labor pain relief, the ... (756 words)
Childbirth Connection: helping women and families make decisions for pregnancy, childbirth, labor pain relief, the postpartum period, and other maternity care issues.
Childbirth Connection, formerly Maternity Center Association, is a not-for-profit organization that has worked to improve maternity care for mothers, babies and families since 1918.
Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care for all women and their families and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
  More results at FactBites »



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