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Healthy Start: Pregnancy 101

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  1. Before we started...

    Initial Appointment Checklist
    11 Topics
  2. First Trimester
    Initial Checklist Before First Appointment
    9 Topics
  3. 1.1 Adapting to the First Trimester
  4. 1.2 Your 1st Trimester Changes
  5. 1.3 Common Questions 1
  6. 1.4 Common Questions 2
  7. 1.5 What is Domestic Abuse?
  8. Healthy Habits
    2.1 Healthy Eating Habits
  9. 2.2 Nutrition during Pregnancy
  10. 2.3 Planning your Exercise Routine
  11. 2.4 How Smoking Affect Pregnancy
  12. 2.5 Quit Smoking during Pregnancy
  13. 2.6 Sex and Pregnancy - During
  14. 2.7 Skincare during Pregnancy
  15. Prenatal Visits, Tests and More
    3.1 Pre-Natal Care
  16. 3.2 Your Weight
  17. 3.3 Gestational Diabetes
  18. 3.4 Kicks Count
  19. 3.5 Placenta Previa
  20. 3.6 Preclampsia
  21. 3.7 Anemia
  22. 3.8 Blood Glucose
  23. 3.9 RH Negative Screening
  24. 2nd Trimester and Body Changes
    4.0 Second Trimester Checklist
    10 Topics
  25. 4.1 Adapting to 2nd Trimester
  26. 4.2 Your Second Trimester Changes
  27. 4.3 Back Pain during Pregnancy
  28. 4.4 Body Changes During Pregnancy
  29. 3rd Trimester, Comfort Tips and Relieving Back Pain
    Third Trimester Checklist
    12 Topics
  30. 5.1 Adapting to 3rd Trimester
  31. 5.2 Your Third Trimester Changes
  32. 5.3 Comfort Tips
  33. 5.4 Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy - Moving Safely
  34. 5.5 Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy - Pelvic Tilt and leg lift
  35. 5.6 Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy - Positioning Yourself
  36. 5.7 Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy - Tailor Sit and Trunk Turn
  37. 5.8 Relieving Back Pain during Pregnancy - Wall Stretch & Body Bend
  38. Infant Nutrition and Care
    6.1 Labor and Childbirth - Thinking about a Birth Plan
  39. 6.2 Labor and Childbirth - Support Person Notes
  40. 6.3 Vaginal Birth
  41. 6.4 Vaginal Birth after Cesarian
  42. 6.5 Breech Presentation
  43. 6.6 Cesarean Birth
  44. 6.7 - Before Cesarean Birth
  45. 6.8 Pre-Term Labor
  46. 6.9 Labor and Childbirth - Your Body Prepares
  47. 6.10 Recognizing Labor
  48. 6.11 Preparing for the Hospital
  49. 6.12 - Stages of Labor
  50. 6.13 Induction of Labor
  51. 6.14 Anesthesia Options
  52. 6.15 Labor and Childbirth - Without Medication
  53. 6.16 Labor and Childbirth - Immediately After Birth
  54. 6.17 Preparing to Go Home
  55. 6.18 Understanding Post Partem Depression
  56. Labor, Birth and Aftercare
    7.1 Infant Nutrition and Care
  57. 7.2 Caring for Yourself
  58. 7.3 Anatomy and Breastfeeding
  59. 7.4 Benefits to Breastfeeding
  60. 7.5 Breastfeeding - Common Questions
  61. 7.6 Holds for Breastfeeding
  62. 7.7 Nutrition While Breastfeeding
  63. 7.8 Breastmilk - Expressing
  64. 7.9 Breastmilk - Storing
  65. 7.10 How to Bottlefeed
  66. 7.11 Circumsion Care
  67. 7.12 How to Diaper
  68. 7.13 Bathing Newborn
  69. 7.14 Laying Baby Down to Sleep
  70. 7.15 When to Call the Doctor
  71. 7.16 Umbilical Cord Care
  72. 7.17 Signs of Jaundice
  73. Infant Safety
    8.1 Infant Safety
  74. 8.2 Choosing a Carseat
  75. 8.3 Car Seat Installation
  76. 8.4 Car Safety for Newborns
  77. 8.5 Car Seat Safety Checklist
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6.9 Labor and Childbirth – Your Body Prepares

Your body starts preparing for labor and childbirth long before your baby is born. In the weeks and days leading up to labor, your body undergoes many changes to get ready for the big event.

Some of these changes may be uncomfortable, but they are all part of the natural process of bringing new life into the world. Here’s a look at some of the things that happen to your body as you prepare for labor and childbirth.

Your cervix softens and begins to open:

In the weeks before labor, your cervix — the opening to your uterus — begins to soften and thin out (efface). This process is called ripening.

As your cervix ripens, it begins to open (dilate). By the time you go into labor, your cervix will be fully dilated and ready for your baby to pass through.

Your uterus contracts:

As labor approaches, your uterus will begin to contract. These contractions are usually irregular at first and may feel like menstrual cramps or backaches.

As labor progresses, the contractions will become more intense and regular. They will peak in intensity during transition — the final stage of labor just before pushing when your baby is almost born.

Your water breaks:

For most women, labor begins when their water breaks. This happens when the sac of fluid that surrounds your baby — called the amniotic sac — ruptures.

Your water may break with a gush of fluid or a trickle. It may even leak out slowly over time. If your water breaks before labor begins, you will likely be induced.

If you’re not sure whether your water has broken, contact your healthcare provider. He or she can check to see if your amniotic sac has ruptured.

Your body releases hormones:

During labor, your body releases hormones that help to make the birthing process possible. These hormones cause your uterine muscles to contract and also help your cervix to dilate.

One of the most important labor hormones is oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for the strong, regular contractions that help to push your baby through the birth canal during labor.

Your body also releases endorphins during labor. These natural painkillers help to take the edge off of the discomfort of childbirth.

As you can see, your body goes through a lot of changes as you prepare for labor and childbirth. These changes are all part of the natural process of bringing new life into the world.

So, even though they may be uncomfortable at times, try to remember that they are ultimately helping you to achieve the amazing feat of childbirth.