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Causes and Consequences of Late Arrival in Labour

M. E. Aziken
A. A.E. Orhue
P. I. Okonta


Background: The outcome of labour depends to a large extent on the quality of intrapartum care given. Prompt arrival in hospital is essential for optimal care of parturient women. The causes and consequences of late arrival in labour have not been analysed in our setting.

Objective: To determine the causes and consequences of late arrival in hospital during labour.

Study Design and Setting: A case-control study in a university teaching hospital.

Methods: Data was collected from patients who delivered vaginally immediately after arrival in the labour ward (Subjects: N=150) and the next two consecutive patients who presented early in labour (cervical dilatation of 3-5cm) and had vaginal delivery (Controls: N=300)

Outcome Measures: Maternal complications such as perineal tears, frequency of episiotomy, blood loss and duration of stay in hospital. Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes, and neonatal hospital admission.

Results: Late arrival to the labour ward was significantly associated with high parity, low educational status, poor antenatal attendance and increased peripartum blood loss. However, early arrival was associated with a higher risk of having an episiotomy (Relative Risk: 2.5). The neonatal outcome was similar in both groups of patients.

Conclusion: High parity, low educational status and poor utilization of antenatal facility are risk factors for late arrival in hospital during labour. Late presentation was associated with increased blood loss at delivery.

(Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: 2001, 18(2): 52-55)

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eISSN: 0189-5117