Evidence-based care of women in labor requires a thorough understanding of both “normal” and abnormal labor progress. In response to the growing cesarean delivery rate for dystocia at our institution, a multidisciplinary team of attending physicians, nurse-midwives, resident physicians, and nurses was established to review the literature and create evidence-based guidelines. This article describes the background literature and consensus guidelines reached for the diagnosis of active phase labor, active phase arrest, second-stage arrest, protraction of the active phase, and failed induction of labor. Our review illustrates that slower labor patterns than traditionally described often result in a vaginal delivery without unacceptable increases in maternal or neonatal morbidity.
Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians
After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to identify the active phase of labor, diagnose an arrest of the active phase, compare the risks and benefits of a prolonged second stage, and identify when an induction has failed.