Labor parameters have evolved with a better understanding of normal progress and the time frames allowed. This new era will change the way providers manage women during labor and hopefully will result in fewer cesarean sections.

Labor was defined by observational research done in 1954 by Friedman. New standards have changed the definitions of active labor and adequate progress.

Active labor, where cervical dilation speeds up, may not begin until 5-6 cm of dilation.  Acceptable rates of cervical change used to be at least one cm per hour but now it is considered normal to be as slow as ½ cm per hour.  Duration of normal pushing can exceed 3.5 hours for first baby if an epidural is present, and 2.8 hours without an epidural.

Many other factors contribute to a labor evaluation including fetal well-being, characteristics of the birth canal, size and position of the baby. The new labor progress norms will provide an opportunity to extend the time allowed for success with a vaginal birth.

The providers at Women’s Health Care make every effort to allow a woman to deliver vaginally.  Safe and healthy babies and mothers remains the ultimate goal.  Please call 503-435-2020 to schedule an appointment.

Paid Advertising Column By Kay E. Case, M.D.
Physician and Surgeon, Women's Health Care