Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Managing prolonged and obstructed labour

Midwifery education module 3

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 209
Languages: English, Portuguese
ISBN: 9241546662 (printed); 9241547062 (CD-ROM)



This module begins with a review of the anatomy and physiology relevant to the management of prolonged and obstructed labour. On the basis of this, the module explains what makes obstructed labour more likely to occur, what happens in obstructed labour, how signs of obstructed labour can be identified, and steps to be taken for effective management. Special emphasis is placed on the use of the partograph in monitoring labour.

The skills specific to preventing and managing prolonged and obstructed labour include: identification of risk factors; assessing pelvic outlet; diagnosing presentation and position of the baby; assessing descent of the fetal head; recognizing obstructed labour; and vacuum extraction. The general skills in this module include: urinary catheterization; taking blood samples for analysis; setting up and monitoring an intravenous infusion; administering necessary drugs; maintaining fluid balance; universal cautions for prevention of infection; and maintaining records.

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