Evidence-Based Labor Management
- Twins represent 3.2% of all live births; however, they account for 20.0% of all preterm deliveries, with 60.0% and 10.7% of twins delivered before 37 and 32 weeks’ gestation, respectively. Twin pregnancies have 5 times higher risk of early neonatal and infant death related to prematurity. Monochorionic twins have a higher incidence of both indicated and spontaneous preterm delivery than dichorionic twins. Transvaginal ultrasound of the cervical length before 24 weeks’ gestation is the best tool to predict preterm birth, independent of other risk factors.
- There are several interventions during the first stage of labor that have been studied. Vaginal disinfection with chlorhexidine cannot be recommended. Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for group B streptococcus–positive women. Antibiotic therapy can be considered in women with term prelabor rupture of membranes whose latency is expected to be >12 hours. Aromatherapy with essential oils through inhalation or back massage can be considered. Immersion in water can be considered. Oral restriction of fluid or solid food is not recommended.
- Induction of labor is indicated for many obstetrical, maternal, and fetal indications. Induction can be offered for pregnancy at 39 weeks’ gestation. No prediction method is considered sensitive or specific enough to determine the incidence of cesarean delivery after induction. A combination of 60- to 80-mL single-balloon Foley catheter for 12 hours and either 25-μg oral misoprostol initially, followed by 25 μg every 2–4 hours, or 50 μg every 4–6 hours (if no more than 3 contractions per 10 minutes or previous uterine surgery), or oxytocin infusion should be recommended for induction of labor.
- As obstetricians and obstetric providers such as midwives and others, many of us chose this field for the magic and challenges in labor and delivery. The birth of a new life remains for me at the same time the most emotional, happy, and challenging time in pregnancy. For the pregnant woman, labor and delivery is also the most potentially stressful and anxiously awaited time of her gestation.
- In preparation for labor and delivery, there is high-quality evidence for providers to recommend perineal massage with oil for 5–10 minutes daily starting at 34 weeks until labor; ≥1 daily sets of repeated voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, performed at least several days of the week starting at approximately 30–32 weeks gestation; no x-ray pelvimetry; sweeping of membranes weekly starting at 37–38 weeks gestation; for women with a risk factor for abnormal outcome plans should be made to deliver in a hospital setting; for low-risk women, alongside birth center birth is associated with maternal benefits and higher satisfaction, compared with hospital birth; midwife-led care for low-risk women; continuous support by a professional such as doula, midwife, or nurse during labor; and training of birth attendants in low- and middle-income countries.