Hands on Pregnant Woman's Belly

Every woman who has had a baby has a birth story to share. One of the most common questions women ask is “How long were you in labor?” For some women, it seemed like they sneezed and welcomed their babies. Other women toiled for hours–days–and endured induction procedures, Pitocin, and Foley catheter cervical ripening then pushed for three hours only to end up with a C-section. It happens people. But for those women who had a C-section for a non-emergent reason, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists is recommending that providers use more patience in the labor waiting game.

The research, which will be formally published in coming days says that doctors may be too quick in performing C-sections in some women. Citing reasons like a prolonged first stage of labor or concerns of a lawsuit, healthcare leaders say that the surgery is overused and that women should be allowed to labor longer. When “normal” labor time frames were established in the late 1960’s, mothers tended to be thinner and younger and they delivered a little bit faster than today’s average mother-to-be.

Among the recommendations is the suggestion that women not be considered in “active labor” until the cervix reaches 6 cm of it’s total 10 cm dilation. Until now 4 cm has been considered active labor. They also say that for women who aren’t too tired, it’s okay to push for two hours and three or more is acceptable for first time moms especially if their epidural is keeping them very numb.

1 out of every 3 births in the U.S today is via Cesarean section. If you are preparing for birth, talk to your doctor about his or her C-section rates and what they consider to be a “normal” length of labor. Try to find a doctor who shares your views on labor, interventions (or lack thereof) and makes you feel comfortable. If you live in the Forrest Hills, New York area, Dr. Hessel is an established, caring medical provider who can help you navigate the challenges of childbirth. Contact her today to schedule your appointment. We look forward to meeting you!