8 On Your Side Answers: The difference between labor in humans and giraffes

A very pregnant April the giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. (WIVT/WBGH)

(WFLA) — First it was a pair of Florida eagles who were awaiting the hatching of two eggs in their nest, now the internet is obsessed with a pregnant giraffe named April. But, is she really going to give birth soon?

April the giraffe has hundreds of thousands of people watching and anxiously awaiting the birth of her calf. She is being live-streamed on YouTube and is being watched by news media outlets across the country.

Originally, it seemed as though the giraffe could give birth at any moment, but as the days go on and on, it is hard to tell.

In humans, signs of labor are easier to see. Labor is defined as when you have active cervical change. Just having contractions does not mean you are in labor.

WFLA First at 4 Medical Expert Dr. Jill Hechtman tells her patients, “If your water breaks, vaginal bleeding, or if you have contractions every five minutes for an hour, then you should come in to see if you are actually in labor.”

Giraffes, on the other hand, keep their labors private until the actual birth, so they do not draw attention to predators.

Another difference between giraffe and human births, when a baby giraffe is born, its head and feet come out first. Humans are usually born head first.

When April’s baby is born, it will drop some six feet to the ground, which will break the amniotic sac and tear the umbilical cord. The baby giraffe will be about 6 feet tall when it is born.

There are also differences between giraffe and human pregnancies. Giraffes have a 15-month gestation period.

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