Obstructed labor is an important cause of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity. The partograph graphically represents key events in labor and provides an early warning system. The World Health Organization partographs are the best known partographs in low resource settings. Experiences with World Health Organization and other types of partographs in low resource settings suggest that when used with defined management protocols, this inexpensive tool can effectively monitor labor and prevent obstructed labor. However, challenges to implementation exist and these should be addressed urgently.