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What is Episiotomy, and When to Use It?

An episiotomy is a surgical incision made from the vagina toward the rectum to enlarge the vaginal outlet. The incision is usually midline (straight), but can be mediolateral (angled to the side). (See Figure...

Active Management of Labor

Some physicians routinely practice active management of labor to ensure that labor will be completed within 12 hours. The standard, which originated in Ireland, waits for the woman to be in active labor before...

Induction and Augmentation of Labor

Occasionally, the labor itself needs assistance, either in getting started or in progressing. There are several commonly used methods for each. Induction An induced labor is started artificially, by either chemical or physical stimulation....

Cardinal Movements of Labor

The cardinal movements of labor are the rotations of the baby as he moves through the pelvis. During labor, the baby must make specific rotations so that the widest diameters of his head and...

Fetal Presentation and Position

At term, most babies lie in the uterus upside down and facing the woman’s spine. Several variations are possible, however, and help determine whether any interventions, including a cesarean, will be needed. Presentation The...