To report on the opinions and reported practices of Australian obstetricians and general practice (GP) obstetricians, in the definition and management of spontaneous first stage of labour, in low‐risk nulliparous women.
Materials and methods
Cross‐sectional survey sent electronically to all Australian Specialist obstetricians (FRANZCOG) and Diplomates. Respondents answered questions regarding care of nulliparous women in spontaneous labour at term across three domains: (i) practitioners’ characteristics; (ii) current practice; (iii) opinion regarding joint statement by ACOG/SMFM (Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine) ‘Safe prevention of primary caesarean section’.
The dataset included responses from 664 participants, representing 29% of Specialists and 11% of Diplomates. Responses varied in the criteria used to define normal labour, and the diagnosis and management of prolonged labour. Clinicians with more post‐qualification experience considered the minimal acceptable progress to be faster than those with fewer years of experience (P = 0.02). Clinicians working in higher acuity hospitals were more likely to augment labour for longer prior to recommending a caesarean section for active phase arrest, compared to those in lower acuity hospitals (P = 0.025). The majority of respondents (58.2%) already based their practice on the ACOG/SMFM ‘Safe prevention of primary caesarean section’ statement, or would now consider changing their practice.
There is a lack of consensus among Australian obstetricians and GP obstetricians regarding definition of normal progress in first stage of labour and how to manage abnormal progress; however, many are open to new recommendations for practice.