Labor dystocia is a major cause of operative delivery, which is associated with increased risks for both mother and fetus. We assessed linear and non-linear dynamics of external uterine contraction signals, in relation to labor progression and dystocia. Linear time domain, spectral and entropy methods were used to analyze external uterine contraction recordings obtained during the last two hours of labor, in 28 cases with normal and 27 cases with operative deliveries (forceps, vacuum or caesarean). Progression of labor was associated with a statistically significant increase in most linear time domain and spectral indices, both in normal and operative deliveries, whereas most entropy indices increased in normal deliveries, but did not change in operative deliveries. On the other hand, when compared with normal births, operative deliveries were associated with significantly increased entropy indices before the last hour of labor and significantly decreased (a probably associated) sympatho-vagal balance in the last hour of labor. Linear and non-linear analysis of external uterine contraction recordings may provide useful physiopathological and clinical information on the progression of labor and the diagnosis of dystocia.
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- External Uterine Contractions Signal Analysis in Relation to Labor Progression and Dystocia