Is Prolonged Labor Managed Adequately in Rural Rwandan Hospitals?

Richard Kalisa, Stephen Rulisa, Thomas van den Akker, Jos van Roosmalen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Unnecessary interventions to manage prolonged labor may cause considerable maternal and perinatal ill-health. We explored how prolonged labor was managed in three rural Rwandan hospitals using a partograph. A retrospective chart review was done to assess whether (A) the action line on the partograph was reached or crossed, (B) artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) performed, (C) oxytocin augmentation instituted, and (D) vacuum extraction (VE) considered when in second stage of labor. Adequate management of prolonged labor was considered if three clinical criteria were fulfilled in the first and four in the second stage. Out of 7605 partographs, 299/7605 women (3.9%) were managed adequately and 1252/7605 women (16.5%) inadequately for prolonged labor. While 6054 women (79.6%) remained at the left of the alert line, still 1651/6054 (27.3%) received oxytocin augmentation unjustifiably. Amongst women whom were managed adequately for prolonged labor until their cervical dilatation plot reached or crossed the action line. In 115/299 women (38.5%), however, second stage of labor was reached but CS performed without a trial of VE. In 1252/7605 women (16.5%) management was inadequate, when their cervical dilatation plot reached between the alert and action lines, 495/1252 women (39.5%) did not reach the second stage of labor and remained left of the action line had their membranes ruptured and labor augmented, and gave birth by CS. CS was, however, also performed in 151/1252 women (12.1%) whose membranes were still intact. We recommend training for more appropriate decision-making during labor to prevent unnecessary CS and proper use of ARM, oxytocin augmentation and VE can be provided safely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalAfrican Journal of Reproductive Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Cesarean section
  • oxytocin
  • partograph
  • prolonged labor
  • vacuum extraction


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