Discovery of the protein that initiates labor

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Marie-Ange Demory
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HOW CONTRACTIONS BEGIN - How the contractions and how does the labor that will lead to the birth of the baby start? When it comes time to give birth, the contractions become regular and the uterus begins to contract rhythmically; there contraction it starts weak, reaches its peak of intensity - and that is the most painful moment - and then decreases until it ends completely. It is like the wave of the sea, it is perceived as a full of energy that gradually decreases in vigor.

Contractions are felt like severe pain in the lower abdomen, some compares them to menstrual pains but very amplified; sometimes, some women also experience severe pain in the spine and kidney area





Read also: Contractions, this is how they work

But what is the mechanism that underlies the contraction? What triggers labor? Researchers from Monash University's School of Biomedical Sciences have tried to answer and have discovered the existence of a protein that acts just like a switch: when the right time has come, it shuts down and starts labor.

As Helena Parkington, the head of this research, explained in the pages of the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications, the protein, called hERG, restrains contractions for the entire duration of pregnancy and only switches off when the right time to kick off the labor and deliver the baby.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists analyzed muscle samples from the uterus of 70 pregnant women. In particular, scholars have focused on the electrical signals that underlie the contractions to understand how they arose and by what mechanism they were regulated.



Read also: Contractions: how they arise and how to recognize them

Result: the proteina hERG it is practically active for the entire duration of the pregnancy and so it keeps the contractions in check, but then when the time comes it turns off, just like a switch, and so it allows the muscles of the uterus to contract to make the cervix dilate and start the stages of labor.



The time of delivery

19 PHOTOS

The time of delivery

Many beautiful images concerning the moment of birth, unique and magical

Australian researchers have not only been able to discover the existence of this protein, but have also found that in overweight women this mechanism may not work properly. Which would explain why overweight or obese women are more likely to have a caesarean section.

READ MORE How to cope with labor, pushing and breathing

in overweight womenin fact, this protein remains active throughout pregnancy and never goes out, not even when it's time to start contractions. A phenomenon that gives rise to irregular contractions and in any case insufficient to guarantee a normal birth, which increases the risk of complications and cesarean delivery.

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