Vaginal Childbirth in a nutshell

The uterus contract as the cervix softens and opens. The baby will then descend as the mother pushes.1


  • has psychological effects that last long after the birth1
  • forever shapes what the mother thinks of herself2
  • may affect relationships with other family members2
  • it is believed to be a critical element for the mother to adjust to parenthood3
  • it is a powerful and deeply felt experience4,5
  • feelings and memories of the birth stay with the mother4,5
  • affects mental and social health of the mother and family1
  • biology safety, psychological health, and emotional needs are equally important1

Past Facts

  • in 1970 the average labor for a first-time mother was 14 hours and for women who had multiple births an average of 8 hours6

To learn more go to Satisfaction in Childbirth and Pain in Childbirth

Nichols F H, Humenick S Smith. Childbirth Education: Practice, Research and Theory. Saunders; 2000.
Areskog B, Uddenberg N, Kjessler B. Postnatal emotional balance in women with and without antenatal fear of childbirth. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 1984;28(3):213-220. doi:10.1016/0022-3999(84)90022-9
Antonucci T, Mikus K. The power of parenthood: Personality and attitudinal changes during transition to parenthood. In: The Transition to Parenthood: Current Theory and Research. Cambridge University Press; 1988:62-84.
Simkin P. The experience of maternity in a woman’s life. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1996;25(3):247-252. [PubMed]
Simkin P. Just Another Day in a Woman’s Life? Women’s Long-Term Perceptions of Their First Birth Experience. Part I. Birth. 1991;18(4):203-210. doi:10.1111/j.1523-536x.1991.tb00103.x
Friedman EA. An Objective Method of Evaluating Labor. Hospital Practice. 1970;5(7):82-87. doi:10.1080/21548331.1970.11705886