World Health Organisation issues warning, women are not being given enough time to give birth naturally.
According to a new report by World Health Organisation, women are being pushed into unnecessary C-sections because they are not given enough time to give birth.
The UN agency issued a new childbirth guidance removing the emphasis on a timescale over which a ‘normal’ labour should take place.
According to the WHO warning, ‘increasing medicalisation’ of childbirth has meant unnecessary interventions have become ‘rampant’ in many nations, usually because doctors think women are taking too long to give birth.
Guidelines dating back to the 1950s suggest a normal birth should be expected to progress at a set pace – roughly 1cm of dilation every hour.
However, mounting evidence suggests this is inaccurate and often childbirth takes far longer.
The WHO said women are being forced into having unnecessary procedures because midwives and doctors thought labour was taking too long.
The new advice goes on to say that slow progress alone should not be a trigger for intervention.
A medical officer in WHO’s department of reproductive health and research, Dr Olufemi Oladapo, said, ‘What has been happening over the last two decades is that we are having more and more interventions being applied unnecessarily to women.”
The doctor further added, “Things like caesarean sections, using a drug called oxytocin to speed up labour is becoming very rampant in several areas of the world.”
The WHO says some caesarean sections will always be necessary, but should not rise above 15 per cent in any country.
The new advice says the threshold of 1cm per hour of dilation is ‘unrealistic’ and leads to too many women having needless caesareans.
The WHO said a better threshold for a new mother would be 5 cm of dilation during the first 12 hours and 10 hours in subsequent labours.
Caesarean sections increase the risk of obesity and asthma in a baby.
Women who have a C-section are also more likely to suffer miscarriage and stillbirth in subsequent pregnancies.