Contraction (childbirth)


Contraction (childbirth)

In medicine (obstetrics), a contraction is a forceful and painful motion of the uterus as part of the process of childbirth. Contractions, and labour in general, is one condition that releases the hormone oxytocin into the body.

Prior to actual labour, women may experience Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes known as "false labour."

The uterus also contracts during menstruation. These contractions may be uncomfortable or even painful, but they are generally significantly less painful than contractions during labour.

The harder and longer the contractions, the more the woman has the urge to push. The woman pushes on a contraction, which, as the labour intensifies, become longer.


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  • Contraction — may refer to: In physiology: Muscle contraction, one that occurs when a muscle fiber lengthens or shortens Uterine contraction, contraction of the uterus, such as during childbirth Contraction, a stage in wound healing In linguistics: Synalepha,… …   Wikipedia

  • contraction — late 14c., action of making a contract (especially of marriage), also action of shrinking or shortening, from O.Fr. contraction (13c.), or directly from L. contractionem (nom. contractio), noun of action from pp. stem of contrahere (see CONTRACT… …   Etymology dictionary

  • contraction — ► NOUN 1) the process of contracting. 2) a shortening of the muscles of the womb occurring at intervals during childbirth. 3) a word or group of words resulting from contracting an original form …   English terms dictionary

  • Contraction stress test — Oxytocin A contraction stress test (CST) is performed near the end of pregnancy to determine how well the fetus will cope with the contractions of childbirth. The aim is to induce contractions and monitor the fetus to check for heart rate… …   Wikipedia

  • Childbirth — Parturition redirects here. For the Voyager episode, see Parturition (Star Trek: Voyager). Childbirth (also called labor, birth, partus or parturition) is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more… …   Wikipedia

  • Childbirth positions — The term childbirth positions (or maternal birthing position )[1] refers to the various physical postures the pregnant mother may assume during the process of childbirth. They may also be referred to as delivery positions or labor positions. In… …   Wikipedia

  • contraction — noun 1》 the process of contracting. 2》 a shortening of the uterine muscles occurring at intervals before and during childbirth. 3》 a word or group of words resulting from contracting an original form …   English new terms dictionary

  • contraction — n. 1 the act of contracting. 2 Med. (usu. in pl.) shortening of the uterine muscles during childbirth. 3 shrinking, diminution. 4 a a shortening of a word by combination or elision. b a contracted word or group of words. Etymology: F f. L… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Uterine contraction — A uterine contraction is a muscle contraction of the uterine smooth muscle. Contents 1 Throughout menstrual cycle 2 In childbirth 3 In orgasm 4 References …   Wikipedia

  • Natural childbirth — Intervention MeSH D009321 Natural Childbirth is a philosophy of childbirth that is based on the notion that women who are adequately prepared are innately able to give birth without routine medical interventions. Natural childb …   Wikipedia


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