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    The process of childbirth, in which the rhythmic contractions of the uterine muscles open the cervix and allow a baby to be born.


The neck or neck-like part of an organ; specifically the neck of the lower part of the uterus, or womb, where the vagina and uterus unite.


Labor contractions
Rhythmic tightening of the muscular wall of the uterus to push the fetus down through the vagina during childbirth.

Labor room
A room designed to accommodate a woman's labor, delivery, and recovery.


Lower GI series
X-rays of the rectum, colon, and lower part of the small intestine. A barium enema is given first. Barium coats the organs so they will show up on the x-ray. Also called barium enema x-ray.

The hollow area within a tube.

Lymph nodes
Small glands clustered in the neck, armpits, abdomen, and groin that supply infection-fighting cells to the bloodstream and filter out bacteria and other antigens.

A procedure in which lymph nodes are taken from the body for purposes of diagnosing or staging cancer.

An x-ray that uses a special dye to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.


Labor room
A room designed to accommodate a woman's labor, delivery, and recovery.

Lactation specialists
Individuals trained in the assistance of breastfeeding. Many are RNs or have a special certificate to aid new mothers.

Pioneered by Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze, this technique for preparing for childbirth (also called the psychoprophylactic method) is based on the idea that the best way to control pain is through knowledge and relaxation. The method emphasizes breathing techniques.

Landau's reflex
When laid face down, a 3- to 12-month-old will arch his back and raise his head.

The fine hair that covers a fetus from about 26 weeks, and is sometimesstill present at birth. A baby born at term will usually shed the hair by the end of the first week after birth.

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