• Pregnancy
    Monitoring During Labor
    Should You Have Electronic Fetal Monitoring?
    External fetal monitoringThe baby's heartbeat and the strength and frequency of your contractions are measured by devices strapped to your abdomen with wires that connect to a machine that produces a printout of the readings and an ongoing digita...
  • Homebirth Delivery Plans with Your Midwife
    Laboring At Home
    Laboring at Home
    If you're having a home birth, your midwife will have talked to you in advance about how to contact her once you're in labor. Since she will be traveling to you, bear in mind local traffic conditions. If the streets might be busy, it's worth phon...
  • pregnant woman waking husband for hospital
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    Pregnancy: When to Go to the Hospital
    Pregnancy: When to Go to the Hospital Fake Contractions (Braxton Hicks) Most women will experience "fake" contractions sometime in their pregnancy – not all women, but most. Fake contractions, more commonly known as Braxton Hicks contractions, a...
  • Pregnancy
    Failure to Progress
    Failure to Progress in Labor
    If your cervix is not dilating, or your baby is not descending, as quickly as expected during the first stage, your doctor will try to assess why this is and if something can be done. Usually, your doctor will assess the three P's: the passenger ...
  • Fetal Monitoring During Labor
    Monitoring During Labor
    Monitoring During Labor
    Your baby's heart rate is an indication of how well your baby is dealing with labor and it is monitored at regular intervals, called intermittent monitoring. If a problem is found or you have a high-risk pregnancy, then you may be advised to have...
  • Tips on How to Know When You
    When to Go To the Hospital
    Checklist: Know When You're in Labor, and When to Seek Help
    When to seek helpMake your way to the hospital or seek advice if any of the following occur:You have vaginal bleeding that is like a period or heavier.You're leaking amniotic fluid or leaking greenish fluid that could indicate the baby is distres...
  • Pregnancy
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    Signs of Labor
    As labor approaches, your body starts to prepare itself for the task ahead and you may notice various physical symptoms and signs that labor is about to start. Not every woman experiences labor in the same way, and certain signs can occur either ...
  • Toy Finder
    Toy Finder
    Toy Finder
    Find our top picks for the best toys of the year!
    familyeducation editors
  • Stages of Labor
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    How Labor Progresses
    Since every woman's experience of labor is different, it's hard to say exactly what your experience will be like. However, the stages of labor are common for all women. The first stage, when labor becomes established, starts when contractions sta...
  • Pregnancy
    When to Go To the Hospital
    When It's Time to Go to the Hospital
    Many couples feel unsure about when to go to the hospital. If your pregnancy is low risk, you will almost certainly be more comfortable at home at the start of labor and should wait until you're in active labor, when your contractions are regular...
  • Pregnancy
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    Signs of Labor
    As labor approaches, your body starts to prepare itself for the task ahead and you may notice various physical symptoms and signs that labor is about to start. Not every woman experiences labor in the same way, and certain signs can occur either ...
  • Stages of Labor
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    How Labor Progresses
    Since every woman's experience of labor is different, it's hard to say exactly what your experience will be like. However, the stages of labor are common for all women. The first stage, when labor becomes established, starts when contractions sta...
  • Taking Care of Yourself Pre-Labor
    Signs and Stages of Labor
    Preparing for Labor
    The period before labor starts can last for hours or even days, particularly with a first labor. So that you can manage when you go into labor, you need to take care of yourself during this pre-labor stage.Stay well rested so that you aren't comp...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 39 weeks and 4 days
    Week 40 of Pregnancy
    You are 39 Weeks and 4 Days Pregnant
    Your baby todayThis image shows that even at this time your baby will be able to reach down and touch her toes (see the foot on the right and the hand on the left). Because there is less space your baby will no longer be able to place her feet on...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 39 weeks and 3 days
    Week 40 of Pregnancy
    You are 39 Weeks and 3 Days Pregnant
    Your baby todayOnce labor starts your baby will no longer have room to place her hands on top of her head or by her face although, interestingly, she is still moving around-you probably won't notice these movements since you will have other thing...
  • Illustration of fetus head pushing on effacing cervix
    Dilation and Effacement
    First Stage of Labor
    For your baby to be born the cervix (comprised of firm muscle that forms a strong base at the bottom of the uterus) needs to stretch and soften so that it can open, or dilate, and your baby can pass out of the uterus and into the vagina. Toward t...
  • Book Finder
    Book Finder
    Book Finder
    Find our top picks for the best books of the year!
    familyeducation editors
  • ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks and 5 days
    Week 39 of Pregnancy
    You are 38 Weeks and 5 Days Pregnant
    Your baby todayIn many ways you will be the best judge of the likely size of your baby, especially if you can compare it with a previous pregnancy. An ultrasound scan can estimate the weight, but as with all other measurements at this time it has...