Because interventions like caesarean sections, which are supposed to be used to manage complicated childbirths have become a routine, the United Nations health agency has revised its childbirth guidelines to reduce the rate of unnecessary caesarean sections.
Olufemi Oladapo, a medical officer with the World Health Organization’s department of reproductive health said that since the 1950s, doctors considered a woman progressing through labour at a rate slower than one centimetre of cervical dilation per hour, abnormal.
So they resort to CS or drugs like oxytocin to speed up labour, leading to the “increased medicalisation” of childbirth.
Therefore, WHO called for the eradication of the one centimetre per hour yardstick.
“Recent research has shown that that line does not apply to all women and every birth is unique. The recommendation that we are making now is that that line should not be used to identify women at risk of adverse outcome. Pregnancy is not a disease and child birth is a normal phenomenon, where you expect the woman to be able to accomplish that on her own without interventions.
However, what has been happening over the last two decades is we have been having more and more medical interventions being applied unnecessarily to women and we have situations where several woman are getting too many interventions that they do not need.”
The new guideline say that for a woman delivering her first child, any labour that does not extend beyond 12 hours should be considered normal. For a subsequent pregnancy, the figure drops to less than 10 hours.
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