Diagnosis of labor: A prospective study

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy.
MedGenMed: Medscape general medicine 02/2005; 7(3):61.
Source: PubMed


Accurate diagnosis of the onset of labor remains a problem in obstetrics. Criteria commonly used to diagnose labor have never been scientifically evaluated. This prospective study involved 423 pregnant women who presented themselves with uterine contractions to 2 Italian hospitals (248 nulliparous patients total and 175 multiparous total) and who were either admitted or advised to return home. The obstetrician on duty collected data using a standardized form that listed common criteria for labor diagnosis. Multivariate analysis showed that a reduction of the interval between consecutive uterine contractions, odds ratio [OR] = 1.42; 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.06-1.90); abdominal pain of increasing intensity (OR = 1.42; 95% CI 1.01-2.02); cervical effacement (OR = 1.4; 95%CI 1.12-1.77); and cervical dilation (OR = 1.91; 95% CI 1.53-2.38) were significant markers of the onset of labor. On the other hand, backache had a negative diagnostic value (OR = 0.78; 95% CI 0.61-0.99). The value of criteria such as regular uterine contractions, loss of mucous plug, changes in intestinal habits, vomiting, pain that is relieved by walking, and changes in breathing pattern did not reach statistical significance.

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    • "There are several published definitions of active labour, however there is no consistently agreed consensus. Suggested criteria to diagnose active labour include cervical dilatation ranging from ≥2 cms [31] to ≥6 cms suggested in a recent publication [32]. However, this latter definition of ≥6 cms is applicable only to multiparous women, as in this study, the average labour curve for nulliparous women did not show a definitive inflection point at which labour progressed at an accelerated rate [32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with slower labour progress and increased caesarean delivery for failure to progress. Obesity is also associated with hyperlipidaemia and cholesterol inhibits myometrial contractility in vitro. Our aim was, among overweight and obese nulliparous women, to investigate 1. the role of early pregnancy serum cholesterol and 2. clinical risk factors associated with first stage caesarean for failure to progress at term. Secondary data analysis from a prospective cohort of overweight/obese New Zealand and Australian nullipara recruited to the SCOPE study. Women who laboured at term and delivered vaginally (n=840) or required first stage caesarean for failure to progress (n=196) were included. Maternal characteristics and serum cholesterol at 14--16 weeks' of gestation were compared according to delivery mode in univariable and multivariable analyses (adjusted for BMI, maternal age and height, obstetric care type, induction of labour and gestation at delivery >=41 weeks). Total cholesterol at 14--16 weeks was not higher among women requiring first stage caesarean for failure to progress compared to those with vaginal delivery (5.55 +/- 0.92 versus 5.67 +/- 0.85 mmol/L, p= 0.10 respectively). Antenatal risk factors for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight and obese women were BMI (adjusted odds ratio [aOR (95% CI)] 1.15 (1.07-1.22) per 5 unit increase, maternal age 1.37 (1.17-1.61) per 5 year increase, height 1.09 (1.06-1.12) per 1cm reduction), induction of labour 1.94 (1.38-2.73) and prolonged pregnancy >=41 weeks 1.64 (1.14-2.35). Elevated maternal cholesterol in early pregnancy is not a risk factor for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight/obese women. Other clinically relevant risk factors identified are: increasing maternal BMI, increasing maternal age, induction of labour and prolonged pregnancy >=41 weeks' of gestation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    ABSTRACT: Atelectasis after either vaginal or Caesarean delivery has not been adequately quantified. This study addresses the hypothesis that atelectasis may be worse in women who undergo Caesarean section when compared with vaginal delivery under regional anaesthesia. Twenty healthy non-smoking women submitted to a chest computed tomography (CT) 2 h after delivery in a University Hospital, who had experienced vaginal delivery (n=10) under combined spinal-epidural analgesia or a Caesarean section (n=10) under spinal anaesthesia, were evaluated. The percentage cross-sectional area of atelectasis in dependent lung regions were measured from the CT images obtained at cross-section of the xiphoid process and the top of the diaphragm. The percentage cross-sectional area of atelectasis was 3.95% in the vaginal delivery group and 14.1% in the Caesarean group (P<0.001, Mann-Whitney rank sum test). These results suggested that pulmonary atelectasis is greater after Caesarean section delivery under spinal anaesthesia than after vaginal delivery with combined spinal-epidural analgesia.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · BJA British Journal of Anaesthesia
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    ABSTRACT: The timing of when a woman is admitted to the hospital for labor care following spontaneous contraction onset may be among the most important decisions that labor attendants make because it can influence care patterns and birth outcomes. The aims of this study were to estimate the percentage of low-risk, nulliparous women at term who are admitted to labor units prior to active labor and to evaluate the effects of the timing of admission (ie, preactive vs active labor) on labor interventions and mode of birth. Data from low-risk, nulliparous women with spontaneous labor onset at term gestation were merged from 2 prospective studies conducted at 3 large Midwestern hospitals. Baseline characteristics, labor interventions, and outcomes were compared between groups using Fisher's exact and Mann-Whitney U tests, as appropriate. Likelihoods for oxytocin augmentation, amniotomy, and cesarean birth were assessed by logistic regression. Of the sample of 216 low-risk nulliparous women, 114 (52.8%) were admitted in preactive labor and 102 (47.2%) were admitted in active labor. Women who were admitted in preactive labor were more likely to undergo oxytocin augmentation (84.2% and 45.1%, respectively; odds ratio [OR], 6.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43-12.27) but not amniotomy (55.3% and 61.8%, respectively; OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.44-1.32) when compared to women admitted in active labor. The likelihood of cesarean birth was higher for women admitted before active labor onset (15.8% and 6.9%, respectively; OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.02-6.37). Many low-risk nulliparous women with regular, spontaneous uterine contractions are admitted to labor units before active labor onset, which increases their likelihood of receiving oxytocin and giving birth via cesarean. An evidence-based, standardized approach for labor admission decision making is recommended to decrease inadvertent admissions of women in preactive labor. When active labor cannot be diagnosed with relative certainty, observation before admission to the birthing unit is warranted.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of midwifery & women's health
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