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Indian J Med Res. 2018 Sep;148(3):309-316. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_103_18.

Labour & delivery monitoring patterns in facility births across five districts of India: A cross-sectional observational study.

Author information

Division of Reproductive Biology, Maternal & Child Health, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Sir Sayajirao General Hospital, Medical College, Vadodara, India.
Division of Clinical Oncology, ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention & Research, Noida, India.
Department of Biostatistics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Independant Consultant.


Background & objectives:

India has recorded a marked increase in facility births due to government's conditional cash benefit scheme initiated in 2005. However, concerns have been raised regarding the need for improvement in the quality of care at facilities. Here we report the monitoring patterns during labour and delivery documented by direct observation in reference to the government's evidence-based guidelines on skilled birth attendance in five districts of India.


A cross-sectional study design with multistage sampling was used for observation of labour and delivery processes of low-risk women with singleton pregnancy in five districts of the country. Trained research staff recorded the findings on pre-tested case record sheets.


A total of 1479 women were observed during active first stage of labour and delivery in 55 facilities. The overall frequency of monitoring of temperature, pulse and blood pressure was low at all facilities. The frequency of monitoring uterine contractions and foetal heart sounds was less than the expected norm, while the frequency of vaginal examinations was high at all levels of facilities. Partograph plotting was done in only 15.8 per cent deliveries, and labour was augmented in about half of the cases.

Interpretation & conclusions:

The findings of our study point towards a need for improvement in monitoring of maternal and foetal parameters during labour and delivery in facility births and to improve adherence to government guidelines for skilled birth attendance.


Guidelines; labour monitoring; partograph; quality of care; skilled birth attendance

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