Anesthesia for Obstetrics and Gynecology - Labor and Delivery
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Labor is defined as the onset of painful uterine contractions that lead to cervical change, and it may be divided into three stages.
- The first stage begins with the onset of regular contractions and ends with full cervical dilation. It is divided into a slow latent phase and a rapidly progressive active phase characterized by accelerated cervical dilation. Patients with body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2 and male fetuses may experience prolonged first stage of labor. Such factors highlight the limitations of widespread use of a single labor curve for all patients.
- The second stage extends from full cervical dilation until delivery of the infant.
- The third stage begins after delivery of the infant, ending with delivery of the placenta.