Childbirth: More Labor Interventions, Same Outcomes

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Hospitals vary considerably in the frequency with which they induce labor and perform Caesarean sections. But a new study finds that these differences do not seem to affect how newborns fare in these facilities.

Dr. J. Christopher Glantz, a professor of obstetrics at the University of Rochester, reviewed records of almost 30,000 births ... Some hospitals relied heavily on induced labor and Caesarean sections, while others performed the procedures much less often.

Dr. Glantz measured neonatal outcomes in three ways: whether a child was moved to an intensive care hospital, whether a child needed immediate assisted ventilation and whether a child received a low Apgar score.

He found no difference in outcomes for babies born in the hospitals with the highest rates of these procedures and those with the lowest. The result suggests that routine reliance on the procedures does little to improve outcomes ...

The recipe for safe, empowering, minimal-intervention birthing is: A woman who is positively motivated to have a natural birth Who is well-prepared for pregnancy, labour, birth and parenthood Who is supported by one midwife and one obstetrician right the way through her pregnancy, birth and postnatal experience Care providers who collaborate, communicate, respect and trust one another, who work for the best interests of the woman and her baby