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Study evaluates new WHO labour care guide for maternity care providers

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Providers described it as supporting precise and meticulous monitoring during labour, encouraging critical thinking in labour management, and improving the provision of woman-centred care

The World Health Organization developed the new Labour Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centred care during labour and childbirth. In a study published in Birth, researchers evaluated the usability, feasibility, and acceptability of the new Labour Care Guide for maternity care providers in six countries.

The guide is a next-generation partograph—a paper-based graphical record of key maternal and foetal data during labour. For the study, 136 doctors, midwives, and nurses in 12 health facilities across Argentina, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania applied the Labour Care Guide in managing labour and birth in 1,226 low-risk women.

Most women (91.6 per cent) had a spontaneous vaginal birth, and two cases of stillbirths (1.63 per 1,000 births) occurred. Providers were highly satisfied with the Guide, and they identified some design improvements to improve its usability. Providers described it as supporting precise and meticulous monitoring during labour, encouraging critical thinking in labour management, and improving the provision of woman-centred care.

“We successfully demonstrated that the World Health Organization’s Labour Care Guide can be used to support women-centred care in a range of settings, including settings where resources are somewhat limited,” said corresponding author Dr. Joshua Vogel, PhD, MBBS, of the Burnet Institute, in Australia.

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