By Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Normal Labour or eutocia is a physiologic process during which the products of conception (ie, the fetus, membranes, umbilical cord, and placenta) are expelled from the uterus. Labour is said to be normal only when the fetus is mature and the process is spontaneous and uncomplicated.
Abnormal labor or complicated labor is known as dystocia .
Although the terms 'labor' and 'delivery' are used as synonyms, they really describe two different processes. Labor is the process by which a baby is delivered. Delivery is the actual birth of the baby and does not include the labor pains, uterine contractions etc. which make up a the process of labor.
Normal labour can vary from woman to woman and even between pregnancy to pregnancy in the same woman.
The normal duration of active labor is 8-10 hours in the first pregnancy and 6-8 hours in later pregnancies.
The first labor in a woman is usually more difficult than subsequent labors.
Age of the pregnant woman is also a determinant in the type of labor. Labor is easiest when the woman is between 18-25 years of age. Risk of maternal injuries is highest in a woman in her first labor when she is below 18 years or above 35 years.
Risk of maternal injuries also increases in woman who is in labor for the 5th time or higher.
Many women start to get uterine pains in the later stage of pregnancy. These are false labor pains and need to be differentiated form true labor pains.
The exact cause of onset of labor is not known. There are different theories:
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Normal labor is usually preceded by a stage of pre-labour in the last weeks of pregnancy in which clinical symptoms known as Prodromal Symptoms occur. These are:
Stage I lasts from the onset of labour to full dilation of the cervix. In a woman in her first pregnancy, this stage lasts for about 10 to 12 hours. In a woman who has delivered earlier, it lasts from 6 to 8 hours.
Stage II starts from full dilation of the cervix to the delivery of the baby.
Stage III is the stage of delivery of the placenta.
Read more about the Stages of Labour here - Click Here...
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