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Labor

The process of the fetus and the placenta leaving the uterus right before the birth of the child.

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Additional Sources

Answers.com

The process by which childbirth occurs, beginning with contractions of the uterus and ending with the expulsion of the fetus or infant and the placenta.

Encyclopedia Britannica

In human physiology, the physical activity experienced by the mother during parturition, or childbirth.

MedicineNet

Childbirth, the aptly-named experience of delivering the baby and placenta from the uterus to the vagina to the outside world. There are two stages of labor. During the first stage (called the stage of dilatation), the cervix dilates fully to a diameter of about 10 cm. In the second stage (called the stage of expulsion), the baby moves out through the cervix and vagina to be born.

Medline Plus

When you are ready to have your baby, you'll go through labor. Contractions let you know labor is starting. When contractions are five minutes apart, your body is ready to push the baby out.

During the first stage of labor, your cervix slowly opens, or dilates, to about 4 inches wide. At the same time, it becomes thinner. This is called effacement. You shouldn't push until your uterus is fully effaced and dilated. When it is, the baby delivery stage starts. Crowning is when your baby's scalp comes into view. Shortly afterward, your baby is born. The placenta that nourished the baby follows.

Mothers and babies are monitored closely during labor. Most women are healthy enough to have a baby through normal vaginal delivery, meaning that the baby comes down the birth canal without surgery. If there are complications, the baby may need to be delivered surgically by a Cesarean section.

The Free (Medical) Dictionary

The function of the female by which the infant is expelled through the vagina to the outside world: the first stage begins with onset of regular uterine contractions and ends when the os is completely dilated and flush with the vagina; the second extends from the end of the first stage until the expulsion of the infant is completed; the third extends from expulsion of the infant until the placenta and membranes are expelled; the fourth denotes the hour or two after delivery, when uterine tone is established.

Wikipedia

Childbirth (also called labour, birth, partus or parturition) is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus. The process of normal human childbirth is categorized in three stages of labour: the shortening and dilation of the cervix, descent and birth of the infant, and birth of the placenta. In many cases, with increasing frequency, childbirth is achieved through caesarean section, the removal of the neonate through a surgical incision in the abdomen, rather than through vaginal birth.
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