• 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • baby size at 38 weeks pregnant 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...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks and 6 days
    Week 39 of Pregnancy
    You are 38 Weeks and 6 Days Pregnant
    Your baby todayThe movements that you feel will usually be concentrated in a few areas since your baby cannot readily change position. Although the character of these movements will have changed, you should still experience many movements each da...
  • Failure to Progress in Labor
    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...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks and 2 days
    Week 39 of Pregnancy
    You are 38 Weeks and 2 Days Pregnant
    Your baby todayAlthough your baby's head is deep within your pelvis, it will remain rounded in shape. It is not until labor starts that the bones of the skull move closer to each other, elongating the shape of the head, and allowing your baby to ...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 38 weeks exactly
    Week 38 of Pregnancy
    You are 38 Weeks Exactly Pregnant
    Your baby todayThe back of the hand is held up against the mouth in this image. Your baby will be practicing suckling at every opportunity, but this will be with parts of the hands, thumbs or fingers, since it's no longer easy to reach the toes. ...
  • ultrasound of human fetus 36 weeks and 1 day
    Week 37 of Pregnancy
    You are 36 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant
    Your baby todayWhen scanned, this baby was lying with his back to his mother's. This "back to back" position is common at this stage but becomes less so as the pregnancy continues. Your doctor will be able to feel for the position of your baby's ...