How is labor augmented?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sarah Hagood Milton, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Two methods of augmenting labor have been established. The traditional method involves the use of low doses of oxytocin with long intervals between dose increments. For example, low-dose infusion of oxytocin is started at 1 mili IU/min and increased by 1-2 mili IU/min every 20-30 minutes until adequate uterine contraction is obtained. [2]

The second method, or active management of labor, involves a protocol of clinical management that aims to optimize uterine contractions and shorten labor. This protocol includes strict criteria for admission to the labor and delivery unit, early amniotomy, hourly cervical examinations, early diagnosis of inefficient uterine activity (if the cervical dilation rate is < 1.0 cm/h), and high-dose oxytocin infusion if uterine activity is inefficient. Oxytocin infusion starts at 4 mili IU/min (or even 6 mili IU/min) and increases by 4 mili IU/min (or 6 mili IU/min) every 15 minutes until a rate of 7 contractions per 15 minutes is achieved or until the maximum infusion rate of 36 mili IU/min is reached. [48, 2]

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