Published on March 31st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Childbirth Now Taking Longer, Study Finds
With all the time-management related shortcuts we now have at our disposal, not everything can be hurried- and a new study reveals that the oldest practice of humanity is actually more time-consuming than it has been in the past, with women laboring for longer periods in childbirth than they did just 50 years ago.
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development examined nearly 40,000 births from between 1959 and 1966, comparing them with more than 98,000 births from the period between 2002 to 2008. All the labors were initially classified as without complication. The study controlled for a variety of factors, and determined that labor lasted on average 2.6 hours longer for women in the second group than the first one, and posited several reasons that childbirth has become a slightly more complicated process.
In the second group, women tended to be older than they had been in the first, by about two and a half years. And unlike our predecessors, women giving birth in the 00’s were significantly larger- with a BMI of about 29.9, compared to a more diminutive 26.3 back in the 50’s and 60’s. Incidence of childbirth related anesthesia such as epidural administration has skyrocketed as well, possibly impacting the duration of labor.
Dr. Christian M. Pettker is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale, and Pettker commented:
“Adverse outcomes are certainly lower than they were in the ’50s, and neonatal survival is extraordinarily better even in full-term infants than it was in the ’50s and ’60s, so it’s not necessarily so that this longer pattern is worse.”
The study was initially published earlier this month in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.