birth

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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 ?
Socioeconomic status, literacy of women, gravida, and birth interval are the major determinants that contribute to the problem of anemia.
* Open birth interval is defined as the number of completed months between the date of a woman's last birth (or the date of her marriage) and the survey date.
Age had a significant positive association with the length of the preceding birth interval in both countries and among all ages.
Another factor most strongly associated with poor growth attainment is birth interval [Sanaurer and Garcia (1991)].
The multivariate models omitted two variables: vaccination (because data were missing for 61% of children) and birth interval (because inclusion of this variable would have resulted in multicollinearity with the birth-order variable, as 34% of children were first-born and thus had no preceding birth interval).
of Abortions 0 359(78.04) 579(75.40) 130(56.52) 36(69.23) 1 42(9.13) 168(21.88) 93(40.43) 12(23.08) 2 59(12.83) 21(2.73) 7(3.04) 4(7.69) Total 460 768 230 52 Birth Interval <1yr 70(15.22) 154(20.05) 46(20) 29(55.77) 1- 2yr 189(41.09) 212(27.60) 72(31.30) 8(15.38) >2yr 201(43.69) 402(52.34) 112(48.70) 15(28.85) Total 460 768 230 52 Parity 1 652(43.18) 304(10) 0.000 2 628(41.59) 3 160(10.60) 4 46(3.05) 5 19(1.26) >5 5(0.33) Total 1510 No.
A birth interval of at least 36 months before couples deliver the next child is recommended for mothers and their children (6).
Differences in birth intervals by the education of the mother indicate that the number of children born within a short birth interval decreases with maternal education.
Woman with birth interval of 24 months or more were found to be 1.36 times more likely to have sufficient quantity of PNC than those whose children were born with birth interval of less than 24 months.
The frailty models revealed that the combined effect of birth order and preceding birth interval length, sex of the child, maternal age at birth, mother's working status and parental education were the important determinants associated with the risk of child mortality.
Agency for International Development (USAID) priority countries, Uganda had the greatest increase in the proportion of 15-19-year-olds who had experienced a birth interval of less than 24 months.
The duration of farrowing averaged 217.8 [+ or -] 83.7 min, and the average birth interval between piglets was 16.4 [+ or -] 24.1 min.