Women are being pushed into unnecessary C-sections because they are not given enough time to give birth, the World Health Organisation has warned.
The UN agency yesterday issued new childbirth guidance removing the emphasis on a timescale over which a ‘normal’ labour should take place.
They warned ‘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.
But mounting evidence suggests this is inaccurate and often childbirth takes far longer.
The WHO yesterday said women are being forced into having unnecessary procedures because midwives and doctors thought labour was taking too long.
And the new advice says slow progress alone should not be a trigger for intervention.
Dr Olufemi Oladapo, a medical officer in WHO’s department of reproductive health and research, said: “What has been happening over the last two decades is that we are having more and more interventions being applied unnecessarily to women.”