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New cesarean section guidelines urge patience during delivery

Health care providers in Phoenix, Arizona, and throughout the country are tasked with continuing education requirements as part of continued licensing. Doctors must stay informed about new ideas, innovations and discoveries in their niche. For obstetricians, new guidelines regarding cesarean sections could change the way many approach the delivery room.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, benchmarks regarding delivery times that were set as early as the 1960s are no longer accurate. In a 2012 study, the National Institutes of Health stated that a certain stage of labor could take up to 2.5 hours longer than averages recorded in the 1960s. Some reasons for the change include mothers having babies later in life, greater average weights for mothers and the use of more pain medication during delivery, which can slow the labor process.

Statistics indicate that a third of all women are giving birth through c-section. Though the ACOG recognizes that cesarean deliveries can and do save the lives of babies and mothers, they are not always necessary. According to experts, cesareans are often scheduled as a matter of convenience or out of fear of lawsuits. As a major surgery, c-sections do increase the risk to both mother and baby, especially when they are not necessary.

The ACOG and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued a number of data-backed recommendations to obstetricians recently. The recommendations included not ordering c-sections just because the first stage of labor is long. Other recommendations include letting women push for longer and the use of forceps by a well-trained physician in lieu of a c-section. Women's groups such as Lamaze International are happy about the guidelines and encourage both health care providers and mothers-to-be to understand new expectations about normal labor.

Doctors in any specialty should maintain an awareness about updated professional guidelines. Birth injuries that occur because physicians are not aware of new information in the industry may result in heartbreaking damages. Understanding legal rights in such a case is a first step for parents who are considering seeking legal compensation.

Source:  RTV 6 ABC, "Doctors suggest new guidelines to reduce C-section births, urge waiting for vaginal birth" Lauran Neergaard, Feb. 23, 2014

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