Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology

Labor and Delivery




Electronic Fetal Monitors

Latent Phase Labor

Fetal Heart Rate

Pain Relief

Active Phase Labor


Second Stage Labor

Progress of Labor

Estimated Fetal Weight

Preparing for Delivery

Delivery of the Baby

Dilatation and Effacement

Managing the Delivery

Delivery of the Placenta

Fetal Orientation


Managing Labor and Delivery

Leopold's Maneuvers


Initial Evaluation

Fetal Membranes

Clamp the Cord


Blood Count

The Placenta

Risk Factors

Early Labor

Uterine Massage

Vital Signs

Monitor the Fetal Heart

Post Partum Care


Labor consists of regular, frequent, uterine contractions which lead to progressive dilatation of the cervix.

The diagnosis of labor may not be obvious for several reasons:

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions are uterine contractions occurring prior to the onset of labor. They are normal and can be demonstrated with fetal monitoring techniques early in the middle trimester of pregnancy. These innocent contractions can be painful, regular, and frequent, although they usually are not.

  • While the uterine contractions of labor are usually painful, they are sometimes only mildly painful, particularly in the early stages of labor. Occasionally, they are painless.

  • Cervical dilatation alone does not confirm labor, since many women will demonstrate some dilatation (1-3 cm) for weeks or months prior to the onset of true labor.

Thus, in other than obvious circumstances, labor will usually be determined by observing the patient over time and demonstrating progressive cervical changes, in the presence of regular, frequent, painful uterine contractions.

The cause of labor is not known but may include both maternal and fetal factors.

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Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Department of the Navy
2300 E Street NW
Washington, D.C

Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology - 2nd Edition
The Health Care of Women in Military Settings
CAPT Michael John Hughey, MC, USNR
January 1, 2000

This web version of Operational Obstetrics & Gynecology is provided by The Brookside Associates Medical Education Division.  It contains original contents from the official US Navy NAVMEDPUB 6300-2C, but has been reformatted for web access and includes advertising and links that were not present in the original version. This web version has not been approved by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense. The presence of any advertising on these pages does not constitute an endorsement of that product or service by either the Department of Defense or the Brookside Associates. The Brookside Associates is a private organization, not affiliated with the United States Department of Defense. All material in this version is unclassified.

This formatting 2006 Medical Education Division, Brookside Associates, Ltd.
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