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Introduction to Abnormalities and Complications of Labor and Delivery

By Julie S. Moldenhauer, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology in Surgery, The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit;Attending Physician, The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia;The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

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Abnormalities and complications of labor and delivery should be diagnosed and managed as early as possible.

Most of the following complications are evident before onset of labor:

Some of the following complications develop or become evident during labor or delivery:

Some complications may require alternatives to spontaneous labor and vaginal delivery. Alternatives include

The neonatal care team should be informed when alternative delivery methods are used so they can be ready to treat any neonatal complications.

Some complications (eg, postpartum hemorrhage, inverted uterus) occur immediately after delivery of the fetus and around the time the placenta is delivered.

Some placental abnormalities, such as placenta accreta, may be discovered during pregnancy or only after delivery.

For neonatal resuscitation and disorders of the birth process, see Overview of Perinatal Problems; for meconium aspiration syndrome, see Meconium Aspiration Syndrome. For preeclampsia and eclampsia, see Preeclampsia and Eclampsia.