Frequency and determinants of misuse of augmentation of labor in France: A population-based study

PLoS One. 2021 Feb 9;16(2):e0246729. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246729. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: While use of augmentation of labor (AL) is appropriate for labor dystocia, it is frequently used inadequately and unnecessarily. The objective was to assess at a national level, the frequency and determinants of misuse of augmentation of labor (AL).

Material and methods: Women of the French perinatal survey of 2016 with a singleton cephalic fetus, delivering at term after a spontaneous labor were included. "Misuse of AL" was defined by artificial rupture of the membranes (ROM) and/or oxytocin within one hour of admission and/or duration between ROM and oxytocin of less than one hour. Women, labor and maternity unit's characteristics were compared between the "misuse of AL" and "no misuse of AL" groups by bivariate analysis. To identify the determinants of misuse of AL, a multivariable multilevel logistic regression was performed taking into account the data's hierarchical structure (first level: women, second level: maternity units).

Results: Among the 7196 women included, 1524 (21.2%) had a misuse of AL. The determinants of misuse of AL were middle school educational level (reference high school), aOR = 1.21; 95%CI[1.01-1.45], gestational age at delivery ≥41weeks (reference 39-40 weeks), aOR = 1.19; 95%CI[1.00-1.42], cervical dilation ≥6cm at admission (reference <3cm), aOR = 1.39; 95%CI[1.10-1.76], epidural analgesia aOR = 1.63; 95%CI[1.35-1.96], delivery in a private hospital (reference public teaching hospital), aOR = 2.25; 95%CI[1.57-3.23]; and maternity units with <1000 deliveries/year and 1000-1999 deliveries/year (reference ≥3000 deliveries/year), respectively aOR = 1.52; 95%CI[1.11-2.08] and aOR = 1.42; 95%CI[1.05-1.92]. Less than 3% of the variance was explained by women characteristics, and 24.17% by the maternity units' characteristics.

Conclusions: In France, one spontaneous laboring woman among five is subject to misuse of AL. The misuse is mostly explained by maternity unit's characteristics. The determinants identified in this study can be used to implement targeted actions in small and private maternity units.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Services Misuse*
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced*
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Pregnancy


  • Oxytocin

Grants and funding

This specific analysis was not funded but the collection of the analyzed data (National Perinatal Survey) was. The National Perinatal Survey was supported by the French ministry of health [Direction de la Recherche, des Études de l’Évaluation et des Statistiques (DREES), Direction Générale de la Sante (DGS) and Direction Générale de l’Organisation des Soins (DGOS)], and by Sante publique France.