WHO next generation partograph: revolutionary steps towards individualised labour care

Hofmeyr, G. Justus, Bernitz, Stine, Bonet, Mercedes, Bucagu, Maurice, Dao, Blami, Downe, Soo orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2848-2550, Galadanci, Hadiza, Homer, Caroline S.E., Hundley, Vanora et al (2021) WHO next generation partograph: revolutionary steps towards individualised labour care. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG), 128 (10). pp. 1658-1662. ISSN 1470-0328

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16694


In 1972, two landmark papers in this journal described the partograph,1,2 a chart designed to provide finite referral criteria for midwives working in peripheral clinics who needed to refer women in labour to Harare Hospital, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). This innovation coincided with influential reports from the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin of the ‘active management of labour’ (early amniotomy, proactive use of oxytocin and one‐to‐one nursing care) with the objective of achieving birth within a limited time frame.3 The partograph was globally adopted, and has been used as part of the assessment of labour progress for nearly half a century. It was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early 1990s as a routine tool for displaying the progress of labour. Despite its global acceptance, utilization and correct completion rates as low as 31% and 3% respectively, have been reported.

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