Labor and Delivery

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The excitement of your child's birth often makes you wonder what labor will be like.

It is normal for you to feel both excited and scared about labor and delivery. This information will help answer the most common questions about labor and delivery, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Keep in mind that no two labors or deliveries are exactly alike.

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Questions are included at the end of this section for you to review with your health care provider.

When does labor begin?
There is no way to know exactly when you will go into labor.

Labor begins when the cervix begins to open (dilate) and thin (called effacement) and the muscles of the uterus tighten (contract). During labor, these contractions come at regular intervals and increase in frequency (how often contractions occur), duration (how long contractions last) and intensity (how strong the contractions are) over time. As time progresses, the contractions come at closer intervals.

How will I know I am in labor?
Some women experience very distinct signs of labor, while others don

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