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Am J Perinatol. 1991 Nov;8(6):373-9.

Effect of active management of labor on the incidence of cesarean section for dystocia in nulliparas.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.


The hypothesis that introduction of a defined policy of managing labor in nulliparas, active management of labor, would reduce the incidence of cesarean section (CS) for dystocia was examined by the introduction of active management at Hermann Hospital, the University of Texas affiliated hospital in Houston. The study was conducted over four consecutive 6-month periods. Observational data were accumulated for the year preceding introduction of active management, which served as the control period. The overall incidence of CS in nulliparas in the two control periods was 23 and 25%, and declined significantly to 20 and 17.7% in the intervention periods. The incidence of CS for dystocia fell significantly from 13 and 15% to 10 and 8.1%, whereas the incidence for other indications was unchanged. There were no significant differences in perinatal outcome judged by incidence of fetal death in labor, neonatal death associated with asphyxia, rate of admission to neonatal care with a diagnosis of asphyxia, or incidence of neonatal seizure. The data suggest that active management of labor reduces the incidence of cesarean section significantly and that these results can be achieved without detriment to mother or child.

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