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Normal labour: first stage 

Normal labour: first stage
Normal labour: first stage

Janet Medforth

, Linda Ball

, Angela Walker

, Sue Battersby

, and Sarah Stables

Page of

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date: 26 September 2020

This chapter covers the first stage of labour, from onset through to latent and active phases. It describes the physiology and diagnosis of the first stage of labour and gives the definitions of low- and high-risk women. It considers birth in both hospital and home settings and the current recommendations for the place of birth. The basic care and support of low-risk women during both the latent and active first stage of labour are described for both home and hospital settings. Mobility and optimum positions during the first stage, labouring in water, and current guidance regarding maternal nutrition and monitoring vital signs are discussed. Guidance on the assessment of progress by observation, abdominal and vaginal examination, monitoring fetal well-being, and record-keeping on the partogram are also considered.

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