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Labor and Delivery: Overview

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Labor and delivery describe the process of childbirth. With regular contractions of the uterus and changes of the cervix (the opening of the uterus), a woman’s body prepares for childbirth, the baby is born, and the placenta follows.

NICHD research addresses many aspects of labor and delivery: the basic biology of labor and delivery; the efficacy, safety, and health outcomes of childbirth practices; and prevention and management of complications related to labor and delivery.

Preterm labor and delivery, also called premature labor and birth, share many features with regular labor and delivery. But they also have specific features all their own. For this reason, preterm labor and birth are addressed in a separate topic.

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Common Name

  • Labor and delivery
  • Childbirth

Medical or Scientific Name

  • Labor and delivery
BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research