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A Child's World: Infancy Through Adolescence 13th Edition

A Child's World: Infancy Through Adolescence (13th Edition)

Book Edition13th Edition
Author(s)Martorell, Papalia
PublisherMcGraw-Hill, Inc.
The Birth Process
what's your view
checkpoint can You
The Newborn Baby
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Chapter 5, The Birth Process, what's your view, Exercise 01

Page 122


The stages of labor during vaginal childbirth are as follows:


  • Dilation of Cervix: This stage is characterized by the onset of labor. The woman experiences contractions that may last up to fourteen hours. The contractions lead to the dilation of the uterine cervix (lower part of the uterus) until the baby begins to move downwards. 
  • Fetal expulsion: In this stage, the cervix is fully dilated. The ferguson reflex results in increasing uterine contractions due to increased pressure on the cervix.  The head of the fetus descends into the pelvis and comes out through the vagina. This is done with maternal effort to push the baby so that the child comes out.  The mother might feel a burning sensation when the fetal head is seen to crown the labia part. The successful completion of this stage is marked with the expulsion of the baby.
  • Placental delivery: In the last stage, the placenta (an organ formed during pregnancy that provides nourishment to the baby) and the umbilical cord become visible. The expulsion of the placenta is necessary for the health of the mother. If the placenta is not delivered, the blood vessels to which the organ is still attached will bleed. The uterus will not be able to close, and it will lead to significant blood loss. Apart from the placenta, the umbilical cord is cut once it is out of the mother's body.

Verified Answer

The process of giving birth which is characterized by uterine and cervical changes that lead to the delivery of the baby from the uterus to the outside world is defined as vaginal childbirth. It consists of fixed stages which are as follows:


  • Dilation of Cervix: The onset of labor when the uterine cervix gets fully dilated to 10 centimeters. This is the longest stage of labor. 
  • Fetal expulsion: The stage where the baby's head becomes visible and the mother has to push actively.
  • Placenta delivery: The placenta and umbilical cord become visible.
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