Partograph as a tool for team work management of spontaneous labor
AbstractIt is presently being debated whether the partograph is a useful tool for labor supervision and, if useful, where should the action line be located between 2, 3 or 4 h to improve the fetomaternal outcome. This review adduces facts to show that this debate is because there is a poor understanding of the essence and purpose of the partograph. The partograph is a form on which labor observations are recorded to provide an overview of labor, aiming to alert midwives and obstetricians to deviations in labor progress as well as maternal and fetal wellbeing. When deviations in labor progress are recognized early and corrected, complications are prevented and normal labor and delivery can occur. The earliest deviation in labor progress is slow labor progress, for which the partograph alert line is a prompt for early recognition by the midwives and other non‑obstetric staff. The intervention to correct the deviation is at the action line by the staff with the requisite skill. In the circumstance in which the partogram was produced, the action to correct the deviation in labor progress was after 4 h, represented by the 4‑h action line, but other workers have attempted with 2‑ and 3‑h action lines and have had equally good results. However, in all these, the action at the action line was instituted by the staff with the appropriate skill, irrespective of whether the action line was 2, 3 or 4 h. As long as the action at the action line is by the staff with the requisite training, the deviation in labor progress will be corrected by either medical or surgical means irrespective of the action line location at 2, 3 or 4 h. In conclusion, the essence and purpose of the partograph is to ensure that labor progress is monitored to identify slow labor by the alert line but appropriate treatment must begin at the action line by the staff with the cognate skill, whether at 2, 3 or 4 h. The appropriateness of the intervention at the action line is the determinant of the outcome and not the delay.
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice • Jan-Mar 2012 • Vol 15 • Issue 1