Oxytocin for Slow Labor

Assumption: Use of oxytocin during a slowed first stage of labor will lead to faster delivery.

In studies of women whose labor had slowed during stage 1, oxytocin did shorten labor by an average of 2 hours.  It did not, however decrease cesarean rates or the use of instruments for delivery.


My Views:
As people look at the high cesarean section rate in our country, many try to find reasons it is so high.  Some have theorized that if slow labor was augmented by oxytocin the shorter labor would mean fewer surgical births would be necessary.  While the oxytocin did tend to shorten labor, there was no difference in cesarean rates.  That indicates to me that length of labor is not usually the cause of the cesarean delivery in cases of slow progression and that we need to keep looking!

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