No statement is more true than the old remark that natural labor is a spontaneous and successful process which prohibits interference. The universal application of this remark to obstetric practice without discrimination has cost the lives of many mothers and children.
If there had been added to the foregoing sentence the phrase "in anatomically and physiologically perfect individuals," the statement would have remained unchallenged. Pathologic conditions, inherited or acquired, and largely the products of modern life, have made a perfectly natural labor a rare occurrence, because anatomically and physiologically perfect individuals seldom exist.
We recognize in obstetric pathology certain abnormalities easily diagnosticated, and therefore not especially dangerous for the patient; such, for example, is a highly contracted pelvis, especially if accompanied by manifest deformity in other portions of the skeleton. The presence of a large abdominal or pelvic tumor complicating pregnancy draws attention to the impossibility of spontaneous labor. A