Pregnancy, Hormones, and Labor

Just under 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year. Most women are not pregnant for exactly nine months. A healthy pregnancy can vary as much as five weeks around a 40-week due date. In fact, only 4% of women deliver on their 40-week due date. The information about pregnancy has become more accessible and advanced over the years. From realistic video clips to information charts, almost everything you need to know about pregnancy can be found everywhere.

Informational Visual For Pregnancy

In some cases, visuals help you learn and remember things. Graphics are a great way to consume information about pregnancy. In today’s times, videos and charts about pregnancy, labor and birth are available from your phone, tablet or computer. The many pregnancy visuals range from a birthing simulator model and fetal models to a pregnancy dilation chart and healthy pregnancy weight gain chart. Other visual tools you can use throughout the pregnancy include:

  • Dilation Effacement Chart:Effacement of the cervix results in a thinner and shorter cervix. When your doctor says your 100% effaced, that means you’re as thin as you’re going to get and the cervix will have started to open. This chart helps enforce the difference between cervical dilation and effacement.
  • Pregnancy Dilation Chart:The process of the cervix opening (dilating) is one way that healthcare staff track how a woman’s labor is progressing. If the cervix isn’t open, a woman isn’t in labor. But if her cervix is opening at a steady, regular rate, she’s in active labor and close to delivering. A pregnancy dilation chart is crucial in the process of giving birth because it helps mommy and doctors know just how closed the baby is to arriving.
  • Fetal Development Stages Chart:This chart shows the growth and size of the baby week by week For example, during the first trimester, the uterus is about the size of an orange. By the third trimester, it expands to the size of a watermelon.
  • Stages of Labor Video:There are many different pregnancy videos out there. Finding stages of labor video is as simple as a click and scroll. These videos progressively show the growth of a baby. Many of them are an hour or less and feature high-quality and realistic scenes.

Hormones, Labor and Dilation

Oxytocin


Oxytocin stimulates ripening of the cervix leading to successive dilation during labor. Oxytocin, with the help of estrogen, causes the release of hormones known as prostaglandins. These hormones may play a role in the dilation of the cervix. During labor and birth, the pressure of the baby on your cervix, and tissues in the pelvic floor stimulate oxytocin and contractions. Known as the hormone of love, oxytocin is secreted during lovemaking; after ovulation; and during labor, birth, and breastfeeding. It creates nurturing and loving feelings.


Endorphins


Endorphins are produced by your body in a moment of stress or pain. They have natural morphine-like effects, decreasing the perception of pain and creating an altered state of consciousness. As a result, a woman in labor shifts to a more instinctive mindset, which facilitates her ability to cope with the birth process. High endorphin levels can make you feel alert, attentive and very happy after birth. Low levels of endorphins can cause labor to be painful and excessively difficult to tolerate.


Adrenaline


Known as the “fight or flight” hormone, adrenaline is secreted in response to stress, fear, and extreme pain. If a woman feels threatened during labor, such as by fear or extreme pain, she may produce too much adrenaline, which can impede labor. In a natural birthright before delivery, a surge of adrenaline provides the woman with a rush of energy and stimulates contractions. Women who may feel severe pain or fear during pregnancy can produce high levels of adrenaline. Some adrenaline is good, but too much adrenaline can slow labor or stop it altogether.


If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, get informed on the internet, in the library, or clinics. Whether it’s a pregnancy dilation chart or a fetal growth video, learn everything you can about the baby, its effects on your body and yours on it. Pregnancy is beautiful but it can have unpleasant moments. So, prepare for them all.

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