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New Research – Changes in Labor Patterns Over 50 Years

Originally published April 2, 2012.

New research was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Katherine Laughon, MD, and her colleagues, D. Ware Branch, M.D., Julie Beaver, M.S, and Jun Zhang, Ph.D., M.D., (2012) examined differences in childbirth labor patterns over the past fifty years, comparing data from a large study in the 1960’s with data from a large study in the 2000’s.

Two of their major findings was that women;’s labor patterns have lengthened by about 2.6 hours! And that cesarian section rates have quadrupled. The researchers state that there are differences in maternal characteristics as well. However, the research team controlled for many factors. Their conclusion was that the longer labor times for women and the increase in cesarian section is due to changing patterns in obstetrical practice. The researchers state that more research needs to be done to reach firm conclusions.

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