Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Today's women 'in labour longer'

rexfeatures_1522549a.jpg
rexfeatures_1148087a.jpg

New research has found women today spend much longer in labour than their counterparts 50 years ago.

The survey looked at the birth experiences of 150,000 women based at an American health clinic between 2002 and 2008.

Scientists compared timings of labour and methods of delivery to a sample of women from 1959 to 1966.

The results showed first-time mothers today spend an average of two and a half hours longer in labour than their mothers' generation.

Possible reasons for this may be that modern women are on average four years older when they first go into labour, compared to their 1960s counterparts. They also weigh more, both before and after birth. Modern babies are also heavier.

Other contributing factors include the way in which hospitals now deliver babies.

Just four percent of women underwent epidurals 50 years ago, compared to more than half of women in labour today. The method eases pain but prolongs labour by around 40 to 90 minutes.

"Older maternal age and increased BMI accounted for a part of the increase," researcher Katherine Laughon said at a news conference announcing the results. "We believe that some aspects of delivery-room practice are also responsible for this increase."

What do you think? Do women of today have it harder - whether with longer labours or beyond? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Related

hero.jpg

Sloth photobombs holiday snap

book-april.jpg

Hot new books of April

chezza.jpg

Cheryl Cole's life in beauty

Comments

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Lady Gaga's supermarket sweep to backstage at the British Fashion Awards

by Nicola Colyer
06 Dec 2016

Lady Gaga opens up about her struggle with PTSD

The singer says she is still dealing with the psychological impact of being raped.

by Moya Crockett
06 Dec 2016

Bernardo Bertolucci responds to Last Tango in Paris backlash

"This is a ridiculous misunderstanding"

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Dec 2016

Madonna twerks up a storm with James Corden in new Carpool Karaoke

Watch this material girl get up on the… dashboard?

by Kayleigh Dray
06 Dec 2016

How three women transformed their lives in wake of the Ebola crisis

A burial worker, a farmer and a mechanic on making it in a man's world

by Sarah Biddlecombe
05 Dec 2016

Jennifer Aniston reprises her role as Friends’ Rachel in epic video

It’s probably the closest we’re ever going to get to a Friends reunion

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

Amy Schumer to play Barbie in new live-action movie

But trolls have already slammed her as “too fat” for the role

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

Director admits controversial rape scene was real-life sexual assault

“I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress”

by Kayleigh Dray
05 Dec 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Reese Witherspoon's birthday shout-out to the Beckhams' glam evening

by Nicola Colyer
02 Dec 2016

Jessica Chastain on how she learned to love being a redhead

The actress used to struggle with low self-esteem as a result of her fiery locks.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016