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Introduction to Abnormalities and Complications of Labor and Delivery

by Julie S. Moldenhauer, MD

Abnormalities and complications of labor and delivery should be diagnosed and managed as early as possible. Most (eg, multifetal pregnancy, postterm pregnancy, premature rupture of membranes, abnormal fetal presentation) are usually evident before onset of labor. Some (eg, amniotic fluid embolism, shoulder dystocia, fetopelvic disproportion, preterm labor, protracted labor, umbilical cord prolapse) develop or become evident during labor or the delivery period. Alternatives to spontaneous labor and vaginal delivery may be needed. 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 Perinatal Problems; for meconium aspiration syndrome, see Meconium Aspiration Syndrome. For preeclampsia and eclampsia, see Preeclampsia and Eclampsia.

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