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Labor and Delivery. Marcela’s Recipe for Having a Baby: 2 cup Mechanics 2 cups Hormones 3 cup emotional & physical support Mix and Stir with the three stages of labor Time: 8 - 48 hours Makes three: one new mom, one new dad and a brand new baby. Parturition. Birth of the baby

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Labor and Delivery

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labor and delivery
Labor and Delivery

Marcela’s Recipe for Having a Baby:

  • 2 cup Mechanics
  • 2 cups Hormones
  • 3 cup emotional & physical support
  • Mix and Stir with the three stages of labor
  • Time: 8 - 48 hours
  • Makes three: one new mom, one new dad and a brand new baby
  • Birth of the baby
  • Both Biological and Social Event
  • Expected Day of Delivery
    • 266 days (38 weeks) after fertilization
    • 280 days (40 weeks) after last menstrual period
    • Onset of Labor not completely understood but we do know it’s about:
      • Mechanical Factors (psst this means muscles)
      • Hormonal Factors (oh yes there are more!!)
it s like a marathon the body prepares
It’s Like a Marathon:The Body Prepares
  • Training: fitness of mom and fetus are important during labor (remember hypoxia bad!)
  • Stretching: Ligaments relax esp. pubic symphisis making more room in pelvic brim
  • Practice makes perfect: Braxton-Hicks Contractions give the top myometrium a workout, stretch the bottom muscles and help dilate the cervix
your favorite hormones
Your Favorite: Hormones!
  • Fetal Hormones
  • High Estrogen vs. Progesterone
  • Prostaglandins
  • Oxytocin
  • Relaxin
  • All combine for a POSITIVE feedback loop
on your mark get set go the onset of labor
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! The Onset of Labor
  • Fetal Hypothalmus secretes Corticotropin Releasing Hormone near term which stimulates the
  • Fetal Anterior Pituitary to secrete adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH)
  • ACTH stimulates fetal adrenal cortex to produce cortisol
  • Cortisol stimulates secretion of estrogen from placenta, inhibition of P synthesis -> uterine contractions -> stimulates oxytocin -> hyp
  • Fetuses with adrenal hypoplasia are often post-date and labor is slow to start
estrogen and progesterone
Estrogen and Progesterone
  • Progesterone inhibits contractibility
  • Estrogen increases contractibility
  • At 7th month, estrogen still increasing but progesterone drops off slightly
  • High Estrogen: Progesterone ratio excites uterus
oxytocin the hormone of love michel odent
Peptide hormone created in hypothalmus

Once E:P stimulating contraction, hypothalmus signaled to send oxytocin to posterior pituitary

E and Prostaglandin increase sensitivity of oxytocin receptors

Stimulates uterine contraction and breasts

Administered to stimulate labor as pitocin

Fun Fact: hormone involved in orgasm!!

Oxytocin: “The Hormone of Love” -Michel Odent
two more

Release stimulated by estrogen and oxytocin

Also stimulates oxytocin (+ loop)

Promotes uterine contractions


Peptide hormone produced by the corpus luteum

Looses ligaments

Softens cervix

Increases # of oxytocin receptors

Two More!!
three stages of labor
Three Stages of Labor
  • Dilation and Effacement
  • Descent and Expulsion
  • Expulsion of Placenta
stage one dilation
Stage One: Dilation
  • Intermittent contractions < 10 minutes
  • Cervix dilating and thinning
  • Average 12 hours primigravidas, 7 hours for multigravidas
vertex and transverse positions
Vertex and Transverse Positions
  • Vertex position (head down) is “normal”
  • Uterus contracts pushing the occiput bone to put pressure on cervix to dilate
  • Transverse lie is worst case scenario with shoulder as presenting part
stage two expulsion
Stage Two: Expulsion
  • Begins when cervix fully dilated (10 cm)
  • Contractions are strongest at top of uterus pushing fetus downward
  • Average 50 minutes prima, 20 min multi

Head Crowing

can you tell the difference
Can You Tell the Difference?
  • Most US hospitals encourage women to deliver in supine position
  • Physiologically worst position because works against gravity, compresses blood vessels endangering baby and increases chance of 3rd and 4th degree tears with episiotomy
working hard mom and baby
Working HardMom and Baby
  • Pain from contractions comes first from hypoxia to uterine muscles and then from stretching and straining
  • Contractions intermittent because baby’s blood supply compromised and fetal HR drops with every contraction, thus hypoxia can occur (esp when too much pit is given)
  • Baby is an active participant in birth pushing and negotiating bony structure to get through birth canal

This Little Guy is All Tuckered Out

stage 3 placenta
Stage 3: Placenta
  • Uterus contracts reducing area of attachment
  • Separation of placenta results in bleed and clotting
  • Placenta expelled
  • Represents stage when hemorrhage can occur
  • Pitocin administered to aid uterine contraction
  • Manual Extraction if retained
  • Lasts about 15 minutes
recovery time
Recovery Time
  • Contraction of uterus result in constriction of spiral arteries (what was their role again?)
  • Mother - Father - Baby Bonding Time: intense period of hormone release: prolactin, serotonin, dopamine, the happy hormones
  • In first hour of life, babies can crawl and self-attach to breast however babies that are drugged are almost always too disoriented to do so

Happy Mom Breastfeeding

if all else fails cesarean section
If All Else FailsCesarean Section
  • Indications:
    • Cord Prolapse
    • Tranverse Lie
    • Fetal Distress
    • Placenta Previa
    • Placenta Abruption
    • “Failure to Progress”
    • VBAC: risk of uterine rupture
    • Cephlo-Pelvic Disproportion
warning midwife speaking
Warning: Midwife Speaking
  • US C-section rate 25-30%
  • WHO says >10% unnecessary
  • Interventions such as epidurals, withholding food and water, supine position increase chance of C-section
  • Hospital settings induce anxiety, release of adrenaline, labor STOPS
  • Feminist critique: Much of language used to describe birth is very unempowering (ie failure to progess, stubborn uterus)

If we hope to create

a non-violent world

where respect and kindness

replace fear and hatred

We must begin

with how we treat each other

at the beginning of life.

For that is where

our deepest patterns are set.

From these roots

grow fear and alienation

~or love and trust.

~Suzanne Arms

If we want to create a less violent world, we must begin with birth