“Failure to progress” is the number one reason for unplanned C-sections in the U.S.
In 2013, researchers published a report of 38,484 first-time C-sections that occurred among a national sample of women. The overall C-section rate among first-time mothers was 30.8%. More than 1 in 3 (35%) of these Cesareans were due to a diagnosis of “failure to progress,” or slow progress in labor. This means that 10%, or 1 in 10, of all first-time mothers in the U.S. had a Cesarean for failure to progress during the years 2002-2008 (Boyle, Reddy et al. 2013).
To stop the flood of over-diagnoses of “failure to progress,” the following recommendations were made:
- Inductions should only be labeled “failed” after at least 24 hours of Pitocin (plus water broken, if possible)—this clock should not start until after cervical ripening is completed, if needed
- Women should be given an adequate time for both labor and pushing—and an “adequate” time is much longer than what has traditionally been allowed in the past