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Length of Normal Labor in Women of Hispanic Origin


  • Marcia Jones CNM, ND,

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  • Elaine Larson RN, PhD

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    • is a midwife and assistant clinical professor in the Graduate Nurse-Midwifery Program at Columbia University, New York, NY.

    • FAAN, CIC, is Professor of Therapeutic and Pharmaceutical Research, Columbia University School of Nursing and Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia School of Public Health, New York, NY.

Columbia University School of Nursing, 630 West 168 Street, New York NY 10032.


Emanuel Friedman in the 1950s established means and statistical guidelines for normal lengths of labor. The childbearing population in the United States has changed considerably since Friedman's research was conducted. This study documented the duration of labor in a cohort of 240 Hispanic women who had normal vaginal births of singleton term infants from January 1995 through December 1998 and compared these results with the mean duration of the first and second stages of labor as established by Friedman. The mean duration of the active phase first stage labor duration for nulliparous Hispanic women was 6.2 hours, and for multiparous Hispanic women was 4.4 hours, both significantly longer than Friedman's group (P < .01). The mean duration of the second stage of labor in nulliparous Hispanic women was 54.2 minutes and for multiparous Hispanic women was 22.2 minutes, not significantly different from Friedman's group (P = .5 and P = .09, respectively).