Considering cervical dilation of 6 cm (instead of 4 cm) as the start of active phase labor.
Allowing more time for labor to progress in the active phase.
Allowing women to push for at least two hours if they have delivered before, three hours if it’s their first delivery, and even longer in some situations, for example, with an epidural.
Using techniques to assist with vaginal delivery, which is the preferred method when possible. This may include the use of forceps, for example.
Encouraging patients to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
So, what exactly do you do with this information? Talk to your doctor/midwife. Ask what they think of these new guidelines and how it will affect their policies and procedures for labor and delivery. Find out what your hospital's c-section rate is, and if it is above 15%, ask why this is the case. Ask your practice what steps they take to ensure women have adequate time and support throughout labor in order to avoid a c-section.
This is great news in the birth world, but women still need to take an active role in their healthcare and start the conversation with their providers. Hiring a doula (shameless plug) is also a great choice. From ACOG's full report on Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery: Increasing women’s access to nonmedical interventions during labor, such as continuous labor and delivery support, also has been shown to reduce cesarean birth rates.
Have you talked to your doctor or midwife about these new guidelines? What did they say?