Technical definition of normal birth

This section is based on the Consensus Statement from the Maternity Care Working Party (2007) to be used for data collection and measurement.

The ‘normal delivery’ group includes
• women whose labour starts spontaneously, progresses spontaneously without drugs, and who give birth spontaneously;
• and women who experience any of the following provided they do not meet the exclusion criteria (see below):
• augmentation of labour,
• artificial rupture of the membranes (ARM) if not part of medical induction
of labour,
• Entonox,
• opioids,
• electronic fetal monitoring,
• managed third stage of labour,
• antenatal, delivery or postnatal complications (including for example postpartum haemorrhage, perineal tear, repair of perineal trauma, admission to SCBU or NICU).

The ‘normal delivery’ group excludes
• women who experience any one or more of the following:
• induction of labour (with prostaglandins, oxytocics or ARM),
• epidural or spinal,
• general anaesthetic,
• forceps or ventouse,
• caesarean section, or
• episiotomy’

It was noted that some MCWP members would like the Information Centre definition tightened in future to also exclude procedures like augmentation of labour, use of opioids drugs, artificial rupture of the membranes or managed third stage. This would depend on the necessary statistics being routinely collected. Alternatively, a tighter definition could lead to the establishment of a separate definition of ‘physiological’ or ‘natural’ birth.

Related Entries