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Precipitous birth not occurring on a labor and delivery unit

Author
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG
Section Editors
Vincenzo Berghella, MD
Allan B Wolfson, MD
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG

INTRODUCTION

Each year, hundreds of deliveries in the United States occur precipitously in emergency departments as well as outside of the hospital setting. In most of these cases, labor and delivery results in good outcomes in the absence of physician/midwife intervention or a traditional delivery site.

This topic will review the key points for assisting women during an imminent delivery of a fetus in cephalic presentation. It is intended for health care providers who do not perform obstetrical deliveries as part of their usual practice. Related topics on labor and delivery are presented in detail elsewhere.

(See "Management of normal labor and delivery".)

(See "Normal and abnormal labor progression".)

DEFINITION AND ETIOLOGY

The term precipitate or precipitous labor has been defined as a labor that lasts no more than three hours from onset of regular contractions to delivery [1]. Precipitous delivery is generally thought to result from abnormally low resistance of the birth canal, abnormally strong uterine contractions, lack of awareness of painful contractions, or some combination of these [2].

             
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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 27, 2017.
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