NPR

New Guidelines Establish The Rights Of Women When Giving Birth

To reduce unnecessary medical interventions in childbirth and respect the woman's wishes, the World Health Organization sets standards in a report.
Midwife trainees deliver a baby at the Juba Teaching Hospital in South Sudan. Source: Stefanie Glinski/AFP/Getty Images

For more than 60 years, it has been the standard of care to try to speed up childbirth with drugs, or to perform a cesarean section if labor was seen as progressing too slowly.

Now a new set of recommendations is changing the game.

In February, the World Health Organization released a set of 56 recommendations in a report called . One key recommendation is to allow a slow labor to continue without trying to hurry the birth along with drugs or other medical interventions. The paper cites studies showing that a long, slow labor — when the mother and baby are doing well — is not necessarily dangerous.

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