Labor is the physiologic process by which a fetus is expelled from the uterus to the exterior. It can also be define as increase in the activity that occurs in the myometrium or a change in the myometrial contracting pattern which often starts with contracture to contractions which subsequently cause effacement and dilatation of the uterus. The usual duration of pregnancy is about 40 weeks which is usually calculated from the last day of menstrual cycle. The average gestation period is usually between 37-42 weeks.
Study has shown that about 11 percent of pregnancy are usually delivered before the actual term i. e. preterm period, 10 percent delivered postterm while about 80 percent are usually delivered at full term. Labor can be manage properly by taking into consideration the woman’s medical history such as the onset of contractions, the fetal membrane status, if there is vaginal bleeding or not. Physical examination is pre-requisite to safe labor and child delivery. Some laboratory tests are also done to assess the fetal and the patient health status and well being.
Factors such as the frequency, duration and the quality of the contraction must also be taking into consideration because this will help assess if the patient will need to be induce or not. Vital signs are paramount and the fetal position also. The process of labor can be discussed under three stages; Stage 1; this stage normally begins with the onset of uterine contractions through the period of dilation of the cervix. The stage is usually the longest of all the phases. There is cervical effacement, and the labor can be graded.
This stages can also be term the activation phase where the uterus respond to some hormone such as estrogen and some other protein. Stage 2; the second phase usually involves the initiation of expulsive effort which begins with the completion of the first (activation) phase and ends with the expulsion of the neonate or infant. The phase is can last from few minutes to hours depend on various factors associated with the pregnant woman. There are some important signs which are associated with the stage.
These signs are; 1. Movement of head into the minor pelvis 2. The head then flexed and subsequently direct the occiput in the presenting position 3. The neonate then descent through the pelvis 4. There is an internal rotation of the vertex of the skull so as to avoid the lateral ishcial spines 5. There is also an extension of the head region to pass beneath the pubis symphisis 6. Later rotation of the head when the expulsion of the infant has occurred, this will help facilitate the shoulder delivery
There are various clinical parameters that must be considered during labor and delivery procedures. The parameters are fetal presentation, fetal attitude, fetal station, and fetal position. Stage 3; the final stage of phase involves the delivery or expulsion of the placenta. It mostly occurs about 30minutes after the delivery of the infants. It normally occurs simultaneously with the contraction of the uterus. There is a separation that occurs between a placenta and endometrium which cause the expulsion of the placenta.