labor (la´bor)

The process of expulsion of the fetus and the placenta from the uterus. The stages of l. include: first stage , beginning with the onset of uterine contractions through the period of dilation of the os uteri; second stage , the period of expulsive effort, beginning with complete dilation of the cervix and ending with expulsion of the infant; third s . or placental stage , the period beginning at the expulsion of the infant and ending with the completed expulsion of the placenta and membranes. [L. toil, suffering]
active l. contractions resulting in progressive effacement and dilation of the cervix.
dry l. obsolete term for l. after spontaneous loss of the amniotic fluid.
false l. contractions which do not produce cervical dilation or effacement.
missed l. brief uterine contractions which do not lead to labor and expulsion of the infant, but which cease, resulting in the indefinite retention of the fetus (usually lifeless) either in utero or extrauterine, e.g., in the abdominal cavity.
precipitate l. very rapid l. ending in delivery of the fetus.
premature l. onset of labor before the 37th completed week of pregnancy dated from the last normal menstrual period.


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