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Vaginal delivery

When the cervix dilates to 10 centimeters, the pushing and delivery phase of childbirth begins. During this phase, the baby starts the journey down the birth canal. As the baby’s head rotates, it may become distorted while slowly coming down the narrow opening. The baby’s skull bones have gaps called fontanelles that allow the head to elongate and fit within the birth canal. As the baby’s head is delivered, it will naturally turn to one side. The baby’s head and shoulders are supported and the rest of the baby’s body generally comes out fairly quickly. Often when parents see their newborn child, they realize that the pain and waiting were all worth the effort. Welcome to the world, little guy.

Vaginal delivery

Review Date: 11/12/2021

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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