Sexual and reproductive health

Recommendations for Augmentation of Labour

Highlights and Key Messages from World Health Organization’s 2014 Global Recommendations


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Publication details

Number of pages: 4
Publication date: April 2015
Languages: English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
WHO reference number: WHO/RHR/15.05


In clinical practice, identifying the precise cause of slow labour progress can be challenging. Thus, “failure to progress” has become an increasingly popular description of delayed labour and one of the leading indications for primary caesarean section. There is growing concern that caesarean section is performed too soon in many cases, without due consideration for less invasive interventions that could lead to vaginal birth. Augmentation of labour is the process of stimulating the uterus to increase the frequency, duration and intensity of contractions after the onset of spontaneous labour. It has commonly been used to treat delayed labour when uterine cont ractions are assessed to be insufficiently strong.

Related WHO guidelines