labour

labour
n.
the sequence of actions by which a baby and the afterbirth (placenta) are expelled from the uterus at childbirth. The process usually starts spontaneously about 280 days after conception, but it may be started by artificial means (see induction). In the first stage the muscular wall of the uterus begins contracting while the muscle fibres of the cervix relax so that the cervix expands. A portion of the membranous sac (amnion) surrounding the baby is pushed into the opening and ruptures under the pressure, releasing amniotic fluid to the exterior. In the second stage the baby's head appears at the cervix and the contractions of the uterus strengthen. The passage of the infant through the vagina is assisted by contractions of the abdominal muscles and conscious pushing by the mother. When the top of the baby's head appears at the vaginal opening the whole infant is eased clear of the vagina, and the umbilical cord is cut. If the emergence of the head is impeded an incision may be made in the surrounding tissue (see episiotomy). In the final stage the placenta and membranes are pushed out by the continuing contraction of the uterus, which eventually returns to its unexpanded state. The average duration of labour is about 12 hours in first pregnancies and about 8 hours in subsequent pregnancies. The pain of labour may be reduced if the mother trains her abdominal muscles during the prenatal period and by the use of drugs (accelerated labour). See also Caesarean section.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • labour — [ labur ] n. m. • 1180; de labourer 1 ♦ Travail de labourage, façon donnée à une terre pour la retourner et l ameublir. ⇒ labourage. Labour à bras (à la bêche, à la houe). Labour à la charrue, au tracteur. Labours superficiels ou légers. Labours… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • labour — la‧bour [ˈleɪbə ǁ ər] , labor noun [uncountable] 1. work involving a lot of physical or mental effort: • The garage charges £65 an hour for labour. • those involved in repetitive, unskilled manual labour (= work that involves using your …   Financial and business terms

  • labour — (US & Austral. labor) ► NOUN 1) work, especially hard physical work. 2) workers collectively. 3) (Labour) the Labour Party. 4) the process of childbirth. ► VERB 1) work hard …   English terms dictionary

  • labour — Labour, ou labourage, Cultus agrorum, Agricultura, Aratio, Agricolatio. Qui est en labour, Ager cultus et nitidus. B. Labour de terre, Molitio agrorum. Entretenir le labour, Tenere studia agri colendi. Qui se cognoist au labour, Prudens… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • labour — Labour. s. m. La façon qu on donne aux terres en les labourant. Il faut donner deux labours à cette terre. on luy a donné tant pour son labour. il luy faut payer ses labours & semences. On appelle, Chevaux de labour, Les chevaux dont on se sert… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • labour — British English spelling of LABOR (Cf. labor) (q.v.); for spelling, see OR (Cf. or). As short for the British Labour Party it is from 1906 …   Etymology dictionary

  • labour — la bour, n. Same as {labor}; British spelling. [Chiefly Brit.] [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Labour — (spr. Labuhr), ehemalige Landschaft im südwestlichen Frankreich, Theil der Gascogne; Hauptstadt war Bayonne …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Labour — er det engelske arbejderparti …   Danske encyklopædi

  • labour — is the standard spelling in BrE, whereas labor is the standard form in AmE …   Modern English usage

  • labour — [lā′bər] n., vi., vt. Brit. sp. of LABOR …   English World dictionary

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