4.1 The value of using the partograph
The partograph is a graphical presentation of the progress of labour, and of fetal and maternal condition during labour. It is the best tool to help you detect whether labour is progressing normally or abnormally, and to warn you as soon as possible if there are signs of fetal distress or if the mother’s vital signs deviate from the normal range. Research studies have shown that maternal and fetal complications due to prolonged labour were less common when the progress of labour was monitored by the birth attendant using a partograph. For this reason, you should always use a partograph while attending a woman in labour, either at her home or in the Health Post.
In the study sessions in this Module, you have learned (or will learn) the major reasons why you need to monitor a labouring mother so carefully. Remember that a labour that is progressing well requires your help less than a labour that is progressing abnormally. Documenting your findings on the partograph during the labour enables you to know quickly if something is going wrong, and whether you should refer the mother to the nearest health centre or hospital for further evaluation and intervention.