Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Pregnancy 3) Labor Process

Preparation for Delivery
In the past, preparing for delivery meant an enema and shaving the pubic region. Today, this is not necessary. If an episiotomy is required, preparation may include shaving the skin between the vagina and anus. This makes it easier for the doctor to perform the episiotomy and repair the opening after the baby has been delivered.

Getting Ready to Deliver
The obstetrics department in your hospital has a floor dedicated to monitoring women who are in labor. Your vital signs, such as blood pressure, breathing, pulse, and temperature, will be measured. The nurse and doctor may also ask you questions about your medical history. You may require an intravenous line, in order to provide medications into a vein.

The timing and strength of your contractions may be monitored electronically. During the early stage of labor, the nurses may want you to walk. This can help to make your contractions become stronger. Fetal monitoring is also performed at this time. This will allow the staff to monitor the infant's heart rate during your contractions.

You will have a series of sterile vaginal exams, which are used to determine how much your cervix is dilated and to determine the position of the baby. The lower the baby lies in the pelvis, the closer you are to delivering.

Continue to Pregnancy 4) Fetal Monitoring

Last Updated: Jul 7, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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