Longer Labors

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Women giving birth can expect to have a longer labor than women did 50 years ago. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study on longer labor times in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

For first-time mothers, the first stage of labor has increased by 2.6 hours, according to an analysis by National Institutes of Health researchers.

Women who were having their second or later child took two hours longer in recent years than women in the 1960s.

Women giving birth in the 60s had a median labor time of just under four hours. Those in the recent group took 6.5 hours.

Researchers noted that changes in delivery practices appear to be the main contributing factor.

The study compared 40,000 babies born from 1959 to 1966 with more than 98,000 born between 2002 and 2008.

Cesarean delivery was more common in the recent group. While 12 percent of the modern mothers had a C-section, 3 percent of the previous group did.

The mothers in the recent group were older; nearly 27 years old. The women in the previous group were on average 24. Babies of the women in the recent group weighed about 3.5 ounces more, on average.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.