Labor and Birth

Labor and Birth


This lesson will identify hormones involved in labor and birth as well as explain what occurs during each of the three stages of labor.

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  • Estrogen

    The primary female sex hormone, estrogen promotes the development and maintenance of the female secondary sex characteristics; estrogen also plays a major role in the female making adjustments to pregnancy.

  • Oxytocin

    A hormone secreted from the posterior pituitary gland (neurohypophysis) via a positive feedback mechanism once the child begins to put pressure on the cervix of the uterus.

  • Prostaglandins

    A group of lipid-based chemical messengers in the body, prostaglandins during labor promote uterine contractions.

  • Breech

    When the fetus positions itself-feet first instead of head-first during labor.

  • Afterbirth

    Occurs after the baby is expelled from the uterus, afterbirth is when the placenta separates from the uterine wall and is expelled from the mother.

  • Lactation

    The secretion of milk from the mammary glands, hormonally stimulated by oxytocin.