Message from Director RHR/HRP
February / March 2018
All women have a right to a positive childbirth experience, characterized by respectful, dignified and compassionate care. Sadly however, this is often not the case. Too many women feel disrespected and experience various forms of abuse when giving birth at a health facility. In addition, many women do not have sufficient – or are denied – emotional support from family or friends when giving birth. Evidence also shows that too many women are being given or offered medical interventions that are not necessary for their situation.
Many women want a natural birth and prefer to rely on their bodies to give birth to their baby without the aid of medical intervention. Even when a medical intervention is needed, the woman giving birth must be involved in making decisions about the care she receives.
Worldwide, an estimated 140 million births take place every year. WHO recognises that every single one of these births is unique – and that the duration of the active first stage of labour varies from one woman to another. Recently completed research by HRP has shown, however, that the benchmark rate of 1cm/hour of cervical dilatation may be unrealistic for some women. Consequently, the guideline recommends that dilatation rate slower than this benchmark alone should not routinely be used to indicate a need for medical intervention to accelerate labour or to expedite birth.