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birth

or

labor,

delivery of the fetus by the viviparous mammal. Birth is also known as parturition. Human birth normally occurs about 280 days after onset of the last menstrual period before conception.

The Stages of Labor

Onset of labor, the first stage, is heralded by contractions of the uterus felt as cramplike pains in the abdomen or lower back that recur at intervals of 10 to 30 minutes and last about 40 seconds; they increase in frequency until they occur at about 2-minute intervals. With each contraction the cervix, or neck of the uterus, dilates until it becomes wide enough, about 4 in. (10 cm), to permit emergence of the baby.

In the second stage of labor the baby passes through the birth canal, most commonly head first, and is born. The effectiveness of uterine contractions in this stage is enhanced by the bearing-down abdominal contractions of the mother.

The third stage of labor, which occurs about 15 to 30 minutes after the child is born, is characterized by the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall and its expulsion. The total time of labor averages 13 to 14 hours in women pregnant for the first time and 8 to 9 hours in women who have previously borne children.

Methods of Analgesia

The pain of childbirth can be relieved with a variety of analgesic and sedative drugs, including morphine, barbiturates, and chloroform. However, many drugs that relieve pain also slow the uterine contractions or dangerously depress the baby's respiratory system. Spinal anesthetics, injected directly into the spinal cord, while not dangerous to the child, are difficult to administer accurately and are therefore potentially dangerous to the mother. Hypnosis has also been used experimentally.

Natural Childbirth

In recent years so-called natural childbirth has come into wide use; the advantages are that the child is born undrugged and the mother can be conscious at the moment of birth. Natural childbirth emphasizes the ability of many women to give birth with a minimal amount of pain-killing drugs or none at all. The Dick-Read method, formulated by the British obstetrician of that name, emphasizes maternal understanding of the birth process as an aid to relaxation, and exercises to strengthen muscles and encourage proper breathing. The Lamaze method, or psychoprophylaxis, is of Soviet Russian origin; it uses breathing exercises as a conditioned response to uterine contractions. The Leboyer method, developed by a French obstetrician, is an approach that seeks to minimize any trauma for the newborn through the use of a quiet room with dimmed light, immediate contact with the mother, and the like, and can be combined with other methods that focus on the mother and labor.

Complications of Childbirth

Birth often cannot proceed normally because of a defect of the cervix or weak uterine contractions; breech births, in which the feet or buttocks emerge first, and transverse births, in which the child is positioned across the uterus, usually require obstetrical intervention, such as forceps delivery, manually turning the baby, or performing a cesarean sectioncesarean section
, delivery of an infant by surgical removal from the uterus through an abdominal incision. The operation is of ancient origin: indeed, the name derives from the legend that Julius Caesar was born in this fashion. Until advancements in the late 19th cent.
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. About 10% of pregnancies terminate in deliveries that are too early, producing (after at least 200 days of gestation) premature infants requiring special care. Birth of a fetus prior to about 200 days of gestation is termed a miscarriage; birth within the first three months, an abortion. Stillbirth is the delivery of a dead child.

Complications of childbirth affecting the newborn include infant blindness attributable to gonorrhea infection, now largely eliminated by routine administration of silver nitrate to the eyes; retrolental fibroplasia, a type of blindness common for some years in premature infants that was found to result from administration of high concentrations of oxygen and is now largely avoided; and erythroblastosis fetaliserythroblastosis fetalis
, hemolytic disease of a newborn infant caused by blood group incompatibility between mother and child. Although the Rh factor is responsible for the most severe cases of erythroblastosis fetalis, the disease may be produced by any of the other blood
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, or Rh disease, which can often be prevented. Puerperal fever, an infection of the mother's genital tract once common following labor and delivery, has now also been largely eliminated by preventive hygiene, especially in labor, and by antibiotic therapy.

See pregnancypregnancy,
period of time between fertilization of the ovum (conception) and birth, during which mammals carry their developing young in the uterus (see embryo). The average duration of pregnancy in humans is about 280 days, equal to 9 calendar months.
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; obstetricsobstetrics
, branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of women during pregnancy, labor, childbirth (see birth), and the time after childbirth. Obstetricians work to ensure that pregnancy culminates in the delivery of a healthy baby, without impairing the health of the
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.

Bibliography

See D. Caton, What a Blessing She Had Chloroform (1999).

What does it mean when you dream about birth?

Dreams of oneself or others giving birth most obviously relate to actual physical birth. Pregnant women and the husbands of pregnant women often dream about strange or difficult births (e.g., giving birth to puppies). This merely reflects anxiety about the birth process and should not be taken as indicating a difficult birth or a deformed child. Birth can also symbolize the beginning of a new idea or project. It also often represents the beginning of a new stage of life, in which one feels “reborn” in some sense.

birth

[bərth]
(biology)
The emergence of a new individual from the body of its parent.

Birth

(dreams)
Women who are pregnant and men who are going to be fathers commonly have dreams about giving birth. It is not an omen of anything to come, but simply the mind trying to cope with a significant anxiety-provoking event. If you or your mate is not pregnant, this dream could symbolize new beginnings (i. e., giving birth to new ideas, new ways of living, or a new stage in life). Superstition-based dream interpretations say that giving birth in a dream is a sign of good luck, while multiple births are omens of forthcoming material wealth.
References in periodicals archive ?
9% of the mothers of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort acknowledged feeling "depressed" or "very depressed," rates consistent with those reported in other studies using standardized depression assessment instruments.
It is restricted to include individuals born between 1980 and 1982, so that they are in the same age range across the 11 waves as the 1960s birth cohort.
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Especially, birth cohort studies are essential to understand the life course and childhood predictors of asthma and allergy, and the complex interplay between heritable and environmental factors (Bousquet et al.
The risk of colon cancer declined "for successive generations during the first half of the twentieth century but has escalated back to the level of those born circa 1890 for current birth cohorts.
The birth cohort effect and economic growth are the most likely causes of this phenomenon.
Our 2006 Strategic Review of Panel and Cohort Studies (PDF) (external website) led to the development of CLOSER and the 2007 Scientific Case for a New Birth Cohort Study (PDF) (external website) a nationally representative birth cohort study which was planned to begin in 2012.
The data from the Congressional Budget Office show a marked decline in scores on the eighth-grade Iowa Test of Basic Skills beginning with the 1953 birth cohort and ending with the 1963 cohort.
John Chittock of the University of Sheffield (England) and his colleagues assessed the biophysical, biologic, and functional properties of the developing neonatal stratum corneum (SC) from birth to 4 weeks of age in 115 healthy term (at least 37 weeks' gestation) neonates from the OBSERVE (Oil in Baby Skincare) randomized study birth cohort recruited at Saint Mary's Hospital, Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, between September 2013 and June 2014.
As a result, during 2012-2015, HCV testing increased fourfold among those in the birth cohort across IHS clinics in 34 states.