What Dilation Do You Consider Active Labor?

What is Active Labor?

The guidelines that signify when "active labor" begins have changed. Be sure to ask your care provider what dilation they consider active labor.

What dilation do you consider to be "active labor"?

ACOG recently changed the guidelines that signify when “active labor” really begins, realizing that normal birth can take more time than previously thought: “Recent data show that contemporary labor progresses at a rate substantially slower than what was historically taught,” so six is the new four--- the old guidelines defined active labor beginning at 4 centimeters dilated; the new guideline is that active labor does not technically begin until the cervix is dilated to 6 centimeters; therefore now you cannot diagnose failure to progress” in labor as an indication for a C/S if the woman has not even entered active stage of labor,” i.e., being 6 centimeters.  See if your doctor is aware of these new guidelines and incorporates them into his/her practice.


  • March, 2014 American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Consensus Statement: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery; American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, March, 2014.