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The Impact of Parity on Course of Labor in a Contemporary Population

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Background:Few studies have examined in depth the labor progression of multiparas to determine if there is any additional impact of being parous beyond the first birth. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of parity on labor progression in contemporary obstetric practice. Methods:Our sample consisted of all low‐risk women who delivered a term, live‐born infant from January 2002 to March 2004 at a single institution in Delaware, United States (n = 5,589). The median duration of labor by each centimeter of cervical dilation was computed for parity = 0 (n = 2,645); parity = 1 (n = 1,839); parity = 2 (n = 750); and parity = 3 + (n = 355). Results:Multiparas had a significantly faster labor progression from 4 to 10 cm (293, 300, and 313 min, respectively, for parity = 1, parity = 2, and parity = 3 +), compared with nulliparas (383 min for parity = 0), as well as a shorter second stage of labor. However, no significant differences were found in duration of the active phase or the second stage of labor among multiparas. Conclusions:Additional childbearing appears to have no effect of on the progression of labor among multiparous subgroups. The difference in duration of the active phase between nulliparas and multiparas is substantially smaller in a contemporary population. (BIRTH 33:1 March 2006)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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