Study Shows giving Birth Today Takes Longer

Longer birth due to lack of exercise, physical labor and nutrition?

Giving Birth Takes Longer Today Than It Did 50 Years Ago: Study

Huff Post Parents
April 3, 2012
by Catherine Pearson

Convinced that you spent a lot more time in labor with your baby than your mom did with you?

You may have.

According to new research from the National Institutes of Health, moms take significantly longer to give birth today than they did 50 years ago.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, compares data from tens of thousands of women in the late 1950s through the mid ’60s with nearly 100,000 women between 2002 and 2008.

First-time moms in the latter group spent two-and-a-half more hours in the first stage of labor, the period of time it took them to go from 4 centimeters to fully dilated. Among women who had already given birth, that stage lasted just shy of two hours longer.

“We can’t fully explain it,” said Dr. Katherine Laughon, lead author on the study, who is with the epidemiology branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “One thing we do know is that epidurals have increased.”

Indeed, Laughon and her co-authors posit that changes in obstetric practices could be one of the major factors fueling the change.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.