After nine months of incredible growth and changes both in the mother and the fetus, labor (contractions of the uterus) may finally start, signaling the pending birth of the baby. Many women fear the prospect of delivering their child. Part of this fear may be attributed to the unknown, especially in first pregnancies. Instead, be proactive and consider discussing the following questions with your care provider before labor begins:

  • When will labor begin?

  • How long will labor last?

  • How much pain is involved in delivering a baby?

  • Will the birth hurt the baby in any way?

Just as prenatal development occurs in several stages, so does the delivery of a baby. Listed in the directory below, you will not only find information regarding the different stages of labor, but also the importance of providing appropriate postpartum (also called post-delivery) care for the new mother and the newborn, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Labor

Delivery

Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room

Postpartum Care

Caring for the Mother: Physically and Emotionally

Medical Reviewer: [Akin, Louise RN BSN, Bowers, Nancy A. RN, BSN, MPH] Copyright: Copyright © 2007 Staywell Content Services, Inc. except where otherwise noted.

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