Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing:

Fact Sheets on Core Topics for Maternity Care Providers

A new report, Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies, and Maternity Care (2015), synthesizes an extensive literature about hormonally-driven processes of parturition and the early postpartum period. The information sheets provided here are drawn from this report.

Contemporary childbirth has benefited greatly from medical advances and from highly skilled and committed maternity care providers. However, the current technology-intensive approach may be disadvantageous for healthy mothers and babies. Current understanding of physiologic processes around the time of birth suggests that these processes and practices that help foster them confer important benefits to women and their fetuses/newborns. Common interventions can interfere with these benefits and are best reserved for well-established indications.

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