Comparing compliance with commencement and use of two partograph designs for women in active labour: A randomised controlled trial

Nigel Lee, Julie Flynn, Yu Gao, Sue Kildea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Documentation and assessment of progress in labour using a partograph is recommended by the World Health Organisation to assist in the timely recognition of labour dystocia. Recent studies have tested new designs of partographs that aim to account for more variable rates of labour progress. However, other studies have suggested that poor compliance in the completion of partographs affects utility. The objective of this study was to compare two types of partographs for compliance in documentation and use for managing labour. Methods: Low-risk nulliparous women in spontaneous labour (n = 228) were randomised to either an Action Line (control) (n = 114) or Dystocia Line partograph (intervention) (n = 114). Primary outcome was compliance with instructions for commencement of the partograph following a multifaceted training strategy. Secondary outcomes included compliance with the accompanying clinical management protocol for each partograph; and labour and birth outcomes. Results: The compliance rate for commencing the Action line partograph was 43.2% compared to 67.0% (p = 0.02) for the Dystocia line partograph. Other than a reduction in artificial rupture of membranes in the Dystocia Line group there were no other differences in labour management or birth outcomes. The use of centralised electronic display of labour progress may be a contributing factor. Conclusions: Compliance with the commencement and use of either partograph was low. There was little indication that the partograph was being utilized in the assessment and management of prolonged labour. Further studies are needed to explore the current utility of partographs in labour management and the effect of centralised monitoring of progress in high resource settings

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e17-e24
Number of pages8
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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