Surveillance during labour

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The technology of intrapartum surveillance made rapid strides from the 1960s through the 1980s but then stagnated as increasing resort to caesarean section was made rather than improving measures of fetal condition and labour progress. However, despite caesarean section rates commonly over 30%, medicolegally expensive mistakes continue to be made because it is difficult to teach clinicians to make reliable use of existing technology. It may be that as with aircraft navigation, the safest solution is to replace human judgement with the obstetric equivalent of automatic pilots.

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