One of my learning goals while in Tanzania is the partograph. It is a visual representation of the labor that allows you to identify problems quickly.

The biggest struggle to learning to use this tool is the reality of Tanzsnisn hospital birth. There are too many women and not enough staff, so the partographs don’t always get filled out. Women don’t enter the labor ward until they are 7 cm or more dilated, which doesn’t leave much time for completing a partograph, and nearly impossible without the information that was never written down from previously in the labor.

Despite the real life problems, I am learning about this tool, and learning some new skills to add to my vaginal exams, such as molding, using fifths for descent and when mec means to refer in low resource settings.  All very good diagnostic tools that help get a woman to the right level of care in time.

There is an online guide to using partographs, I can’t do the link from my phone, but when I get home next week I can add it to this post.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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