How would Mary Poppins fare in labour? Practically perfect? Unlikely.

Introduction Unrealistic expectations of labour in first time mothers can present challenges to physicians and midwives. This study calculated the percentage of “practically perfect” births in nulliparous women, defined as a labour without intervention, an intact perineum and a positive neonatal outcome.Methods: This was a retrospective study of the nulliparous deliveries that occurred in the National Maternity Hospital over two years (2014/2015). To extract the perfect births, we excluded deliveries <37 >weeks, induction/pre labour Caesarean Section (CS), Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM), oxytocin, fetal blood sample, emergency CS/instrumental deliveries, perineal damage and suboptimal Apgar scores.

Results: 0.8% of nulliparous mothers had a practically perfect birth.

Discussion Our results provide a useful statistic for clinicians and nulliparous mothers, which could be further validated by similar studies in similar units. The study had a large cohort which objectively quantified perfect births. Research on the subjective perception of perfect births could add value to these findings.