Temporal variation in rates of cesarean section for dystocia: does "convenience" play a role?

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1987 Feb;156(2):300-4. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(87)90272-9.


The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that convenience for the physician plays a role in the rate of cesarean section performed because of dystocia. Three time periods were defined (night, 12 midnight to 7:59 AM; day, 8 AM to 5:59 PM; evening, 6 PM to 11:59 PM) based on the work commitments and daily routines of the obstetrician. Rates of cesarean section for dystocia were determined for each of the three time periods. An evening peak in the cesarean section rate is partially but not entirely explained by an evening increase in the proportion of patients in prolonged labor. When patients were stratified according to labor duration (less than 12, 12 to 15, and greater than 16 hours), a persistent evening excess in the rate of cesarean section for dystocia was observed for patients whose labor duration was less than 16 hours. Although this is interpreted as being consistent with the hypothesis of physician convenience, the magnitude of this effect on the overall rate of cesarean section for dystocia is small.

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Dystocia / physiopathology
  • Dystocia / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Pregnancy
  • Quebec
  • Time Factors