Evidence grows that normal childbirth takes longer than we thought | Science News

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Evidence grows that normal childbirth takes longer than we thought

The insight could lead to fewer unnecessary C-sections being performed

By
2:49pm, January 16, 2018
woman in labor

PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS  A decades-old idea about how quickly a woman’s labor should progress has not held up in recent studies.

A long-standing “rule” for women in labor has been challenged again.

During labor, the cervix – the narrow, lower part of the uterus – dilates, or opens, to allow for a baby’s birth. For decades, the guidance has been that the cervix should dilate by at least 1 centimeter per hour. But a study in two African countries found a slower rate of dilation for many women who went on to have healthy, vaginal births, researchers report online January 16 in PLOS Medicine.

The new study reinforces findings from recent research on pregnant women in the United States, Japan and other countries. Nevertheless, some doctors still wrongly classify slower labor as abnormal, researchers say, leading to unnecessary, potentially risky interventions such as cesarean delivery.

“It takes repetitive studies and consistent findings to change long-held

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