Breast Stimulation to Augment Labor: History, Mystery, and Culture


  • Peter Curtis MD

    1. Peter Curtis is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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Address correspondence to Peter Curtis, MD, Department of Family Medicine, CB# 7595, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.


This paper describes the development of a researchable project, arising from the clinical observation of a physiologic phenomenon during labor. Augmentation of labor by breast stimulation has been used in a variety of cultures for centuries. The process of developing a clinical study of augmentation in the modern obstetric environment is discussed, with reference to cultural attitudes of patients and health care workers.