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Give mum a rest before birth

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A period of rest before the 'pushing' phase of labour is safe and even beneficial for both mothers and babies, say US investigators

A period of rest before the 'pushing' phase of labour is safe and even beneficial for both mothers and babies, say US investigators.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has long recommended that the second stage of labour should not last longer than two hours in first-time mothers or three hours in those having second or subsequent children.

But, when 252 women (all with epidurals) were randomised to either active pushing immediately or a period of rest to allow passive descent of the baby, they found that both the mothers and babies in the rest group fared better than those forced to push, despite a second-stage duration of up to nearly five hours.

The newborns of rested women had fewer heart rate decelerations than control babies, and their mothers were less fatigued (Obstet Gynecol, 2002; 99: 29-34).


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