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Monitoring the progress of labor 

Monitoring the progress of labor
Chapter:
Monitoring the progress of labor
Author(s):

Murray Enkin

, Marc J. N. C. Keirse

, James Neilson

, Caroline Crowther

, Lelia Duley

, Ellen Hodnett

, and Justus Hofmeyr

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780192631732.003.0031
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date: 15 September 2019

Labor is a special time, both emotionally and physically, for each woman. It is a time of intense physical activity, stress, and pain, and it may prove to be a time of overt or hidden danger. The care that a woman receives during labor should not only help her to cope with the effort, stress, and pain; it should minimize or remove the danger as well. The purpose of monitoring the progress of labor is to recognize incipient problems, so that their progression to serious problems may be prevented. Prolonged labor can lead to adverse outcomes for both mother and baby, including maternal exhaustion, perinatal asphyxia, and even death. Inefficient uterine action can be recognized and corrected, and some adverse outcomes can be prevented. The progress of labor must be monitored with thought and consideration, rather than as an unthinking routine or a Procrustean attempt to make all women fit predetermined criteria of so-called normality.

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