Don't delay your care at Mayo Clinic
Brain tumor, breast cancer, colon cancer, congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia. See more conditions.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Every woman's labor and delivery experience is unique. Still, understanding what's typical can help you know what to expect as your due date approaches.
Labor and delivery generally follows a pattern — the cervix softening and opening; the amniotic sac rupturing; the contractions getting stronger and closer together. Sometimes, however, labor and delivery takes surprising twists and turns. You might reconsider your wishes about pain medication, or you might need an unexpected C-section.
However your labor and delivery unfolds, remember that your health and your baby's health are what's most important. Discuss your labor and delivery preferences with your health care provider, including options for pain medication and thoughts about episiotomy and other procedures. Then look forward to welcoming your baby into the world.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.