Giving Birth Takes Longer Now Than in 1960s

April 2, 2012
By

Births during the last decade take longer than they did in the early 1960s — 2.6 hours longer for women having their first baby, and a little less than two hours longer for women who have given birth before, a new study finds.

Scientists at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development compared the birth experiences of thousands of women who went into labor without complications from 1959 to 1966 with those of women from 2002 to 2008, and found that women in the latter group labored longer, and were more likely to have had medical interventions, like an epidural or a dose of oxytocin.

But is that intervention the cause of the longer labors — and if it is, are longer labors a negative result? The authors of the study suspect as much, but at least one obstetrician who spoke to Nicholas Bakalar, the  Times reporter who wrote an article about the study, suggested that other variables could cause childbirth to take more time. He noted, too, that birth outcomes have improved since the 1960s (and the study authors did find evidence, like higher Apgar scores, that the modern babies were healthier).

Plenty of variables are available to account for the healthier babies as well. Midwives and some other public health experts have long argued that increased medical intervention in the birthing process benefits doctors, not women.

Read more: New York Times

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Follow The Feminist Wire

Arts & Culture

  • Poem Suite: Shards Rainbow Shards

    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore fracturing, fragmentation and “shards” from feminist perspectives. . Making Mosaics By Leah Ware Gluing the pieces together, One by one, the mirrors go down Along [...]

  • Poem Suite: Monsters magical-weave-mirror

    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore images of monsters and monstrosity from feminist perspectives.    Mary Shelley: My Mother’s Monsters By Melissa Knox   By the time I came along she [...]

  • Poem Suite: Becoming DSC_0377

    In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, two poets explore processes of change, motion, and becoming from feminist perspectives.        From “Lesion” By Indrani Sengupta   thereafter   overgrown freckle. overzealous lovemark not [...]