Parturition is a medical term that refers to the act or process of giving birth. It involves several stages including labor, delivery of the baby, and delivery of the placenta. It marks the end of a pregnancy and the beginning of a new life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Parturition refers to the process of giving birth, encompassing the whole process from the onset of labor to the delivery of the placenta.
  2. This physiological process is divided into three stages: the first stage begins with the onset of uterine contractions and ends with complete dilation of the cervix; the second stage involves the delivery of the baby; and the third stage is the delivery of the placenta.
  3. Parturition is regulated by complex interactions between the mother’s hormones, specifically progesterone and oxytocin, which regulate the contractions of the uterus and the cervix dilation during labor.


The term “parturition” is essential within the realm of motherhood as it denotes the process of childbirth.

This significant event marks the culmination of pregnancy, where a woman delivers one or more babies from her uterus.

It encompasses the three stages of labor: the shortening and opening of the cervix during the first stage, descent and birth of the baby during the second stage, and the delivery of the placenta during the third stage.

Understanding parturition is crucial in various fields, such as obstetrics and neonatology, as well as for expecting mothers and their families in terms of preparation for childbirth and understanding potential birth complications.


Parturition is an integral part of motherhood as it refers to the act or process of giving birth to offspring. This term is not only specific to humans, but all mammals that reproduce through internal fertilization.

The main purpose of parturition, from a biological standpoint, is to bring new individuals into a species, ensuring its survival and continuation. It is a natural process that is governed by hormonal changes within a mother’s body, and characteristically signifies the end of gestation, or the period of pregnancy.

The occurrence of parturition has multiple stages, including labor, delivery of the baby, and finally, the delivery of the placenta. Each stage carries its own importance and challenges, contributing to the overall objective of a successful birth.

For humans, in medical and healthcare settings, understanding the intricacies of parturition is essential for providing effective prenatal care and recognizing or managing potential complications. Thus, parturition serves not only as a biological event, but also a critical field of study for health professionals to safeguard the health and well-being of both mother and child.

Examples of Parturition

Human Childbirth: This is the most common example of parturition. It refers to the process in which a woman gives birth to a baby after a full gestation period of approximately nine months. The process includes the stages of labor, delivery of the baby, and the delivery of the placenta.

Animal Birth: Animals also experience parturition. For example, a female dog experiencing parturition will have to go through the stages of labor and eventually give birth to her pups. The same goes for other animals like cats, cows, horses, etc.

Wildlife Birth: In a wildlife or natural setting, parturition can be witnessed when wild animals give birth to their young one. For instance, a deer giving birth to a fawn in a forest, or a sea turtle laying its eggs on the beach, all come under the process of parturition.

FAQs about Parturition

What is parturition?

Parturition is the process of childbirth, from the start of regular uterine contractions to the delivery of the placenta.

What are the stages of parturition?

Parturition is generally divided into three stages. The first stage includes early and active labor. The second stage encompasses the birth of the baby, and the third stage is the delivery of the placenta.

What triggers parturition?

Although the exact trigger for parturition is not completely understood, it is believed to be initiated by a complex interaction of hormonal signals between the fetus and mother.

Can parturition be induced?

Yes, parturition can be induced for medical reasons, such as when the health of the mother or baby is at risk. This is usually done by administering drugs that initiate uterine contractions.

What complications can arise from parturition?

Complications can vary from minor to severe and may include hemorrhage, infection, obstetrical trauma, and complications related to anesthesia amongst others.

What can be done to manage pain during parturition?

Pain control measures during parturition can include both non-medication methods such as relaxation techniques, massage, water birth, and medication methods such as epidural anesthesia or opioid analgesics amongst others.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Labor and Delivery
  • Contractions
  • Maternity
  • Neonatology
  • Postpartum Period

Sources for More Information

  • Merriam-Webster – A renowned dictionary site that provides in-depth meanings and explanations of words including medical terminologies like “parturition”.
  • Mayo Clinic – A medical research group that provides authoritative and easy-to-understand information on a multitude of health topics, including pregnancy and childbirth.
  • MedlinePlus – An online health information resource maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, that provides information about diseases, health conditions, and wellness issues, including parturition.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) – An international agency that provides insightful data and articles about worldwide health matters, including maternal health and childbirth.