Growing Concerns: Doctors Respond to Women's Fears about Labor

Relax! Doctors share the truth about the biggest labor-day concerns.

With their delivery day fast approaching, many moms-to-be voice new fears, especially about their upcoming labor. As obstetricians, we make sure we spend extra time with our patients during the last months of their pregnancy, not just to monitor their medical condition but also to help maintain their emotional equilibrium. We feel it's important to address a woman's hopes and worries well before the due date. On the birth day itself, you may not be able to control as much as you'd like, so being armed with information goes a long way toward making that event as stress-free as possible.

Big Head, Small Opening

Many moms have a difficult time visualizing how their baby's head and body will make it through the narrow opening of their vagina. The concept can be frightening, but nature designed our body for this. Ideally, a woman's pelvis is shaped to allow the easy passage of the baby. The vaginal skin and muscles are incredibly elastic and can stretch open to more than 10 centimeters wide to accommodate the head. During labor, a birthing mirror can help you better understand when and where to push; if you're looking at your baby's head descending and watching the opening expand, you'll know that you're pushing correctly.

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Pregnancy Month by Month: Preparing for Labor
Pregnancy Month by Month:  Preparing for Labor

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