With the growing frequency of preterm birth, increased effort has been made to elucidate the physiology of normal and aberrant parturition. As with many developmental processes, the study of genetically altered mice has led to an increased understanding of mechanisms controlling the maintenance and resolution of pregnancy. Studies in genetically altered mice have implicated critical roles for both prostaglandin synthesis and degradation in luteolysis and the progression of labor. The importance of local modulation of progesterone activity to cervical ripening has also been demonstrated. Although a decline in levels of serum progesterone is a part of normal labor initiation in mice but not humans, murine labor without progesterone withdrawal has been reported in some cases. These findings emphasize the importance of other components of the parturition cascade that are shared in mice and humans and highlights the importance of an increased understanding of the physiology of mouse parturition.