What are the mechanisms of labor?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sarah Hagood Milton, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The ability of the fetus to successfully negotiate the pelvis during labor involves changes in position of its head during its passage in labor. The mechanisms of labor, also known as the cardinal movements, are described in relation to a vertex presentation, as is the case in 95% of all pregnancies. Although labor and delivery occurs in a continuous fashion, the cardinal movements are described as 7 discrete sequences, as discussed below. [2]


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