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February 17, 2018 Saturday 11:26:37 AM IST

WHO warns against unhealthy intervention in birth

Science Innovations

17th February, 2018: World Health Organization (WHO) has recently given new guidelines including 56 evidence-based recommendations on best care for mother and baby during labor and immediately after. These include permitting a woman to have a companion of choice present during labor and childbirth; ensuring good communication between women and health providers; and allowing women to make decisions about their pain management, labor and birth positions.

According to WHO, most of the estimated 140 million annual births occur without complications. However, over the past 20 years there has been a significant rise in medical interventions, including infusion of oxytocin to speed up labor and caesarean sections.

According to Olufemi Oladapo, a medical officer in WHO’s department of Reproductive Health and Research, every labor and childbirth is unique. It is perfectly normal for some women to be slower than the prescribed rate of cervical dilation of one centimeter per hour.


The period of labor is another question elaborated by WHO. “It should not be longer than 12 hours in first-time mothers. And it should not be longer than 10 hours in subsequent labors…. So, as long as a woman is making some progress within that time frame, and the condition of the mother as well as the baby is reassuring, then there should be no reason for intervening,” Oladapo said.

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