When you are pregnant, all you hope and wish for is a painless and normal delivery that ends with a healthy and happy baby in your arms. But there are a lot of things that can go wrong and can hinder the normal progression of the labor or the birthing process.
Each and every woman experiences labor differently. But there are certain things that are listed as the determinants of a normal labor. There are various steps and each of these is supposed to progress at a certain pace.
Things do not often go as per the text book when the delivery of a baby is concerned. When a woman in active labor experiences a slowing down or stopping of labor, it is known as 'stalled labor'.
Stalled labor can be frustrating and distressing. Fortunately, it does not generally pose a danger to the mother or the baby though it can put the mother in a panicky place. The best thing to do is to learn more about stalled labor.
This way, if you do experience stalled labor during your delivery, you can be calm and can do what is required to get the birthing process back on the track. Read on to know more about stalled labor, the reasons for its occurrence and things you can do if faced with it.
What Are The Reasons For The Occurrence Of Stalled Labor?Induction of labor
- Administration of the epidural
- Emotional dystocia
- The position of the baby
- Discuss the use of Pitocin
- Change your position
- Nipple stimulation
- Taking a shower
- Change of the scene
• Induction of labor
If you are undergoing a labor which was induced, you run a risk of experiencing stalled labor. Perhaps, the greatest risk that the induction poses is that the induction can fail and you may have to give birth via a cesarean.
When your body is not yet ready to give birth and you are induced or are forced to go into labor artificially, the labor may not progress as expected. If your doctor is advising an induction, talk to him about the risks of it. Only agree for induction if it is absolutely necessary for the baby's and your own health.
• Administration of the epidural
The epidural numbs your body from the waist down. With no feeling below the waist, it will become difficult for you to feel the pain or the contractions coming. This in turn will make your pushing ineffective.
The epidural can also slow or pause the contractions as the muscles of the uterus and the pelvis are also relaxed by the effect of the epidural. If this happens, you may need more Pitocin to restart the labor.
• Emotional dystocia
Emotional dystocia is a way of saying that emotional stress and psychological effects can cause your labor to slow down or stop altogether. It can be due to a fear of the pain from the labor, feeling unsafe, not having enough privacy, and previous trauma due to being sexually abused.
If you have any of these or any other problems that might have an impact on the birthing process, make sure to talk to your doctor. Make sure that you have someone familiar with you during the labor with whom you feel safe.
• The position of the baby
The length of the birthing process can often depend on the position of the baby. If the baby's position is unfavourable, then the birthing process is bound to be longer. If the baby is in a position that does not favour an easy delivery, the labor may stall or slow down.
The doctor may ask you to change the position or walk a little to facilitate the baby to get into a much better position. They may also try to move the baby manually. When the baby successfully gets into the position, the labor will proceed as normal.
What To Do If The Labor Has Stalled?
• Discuss the use of Pitocin
Pitocin is often administered to restart a stalled labor or to speed up a slowing labor. If your doctor wants to administer Pitocin, discuss the benefits of using it. If you and your baby are not in distress and are healthy, allow the labor to progress on its own and try some of the following natural methods to restart the stalled labor. If nothing works, you will just have to accept the Pitocin.
If you are under fear or intense emotional stress that is causing your labor to stall, you should try and rest. Relax and try not to think about anything that is overwhelming you. Instead, try and focus on the fact that you are doing this for your baby and he needs you now. Once your body and your mind is relaxed and focused on the work at hand, you will see that your labor will start again.
• Change your position
Changing position while in labor can help start the contractions again. It probably has to do with the change in the weight of the baby and the lifting or changing of the stress on the muscles of the uterus. It also helps if your labor has stalled due to the administration of epidural.
If you can muster up the energy, you may try to slowly walk. If no other natural methods have helped yet, walking may just do the trick. The gravity and the movement of the pelvic muscles when walking can help in restarting the labor.
• Nipple stimulation
Nipple stimulation is an effective way to help your stalled labor to move along. It releases oxytocin that is a hormone that helps bring about longer and stronger contraction. To perform the nipple stimulation, roll your nipples gently between the pointed and thumb fingers of your hands. You can also rub your nipples with your palm. Talk to your doctor about the frequency and the number of times you may need to do this.
• Taking a shower
Taking a warm shower can help to get on with the labor. The warm shower can relax your body and mind. The water will also provide adequate stimulation of the nipples. Oxytocin and endorphins are released during a shower and they will help restart the stalled labor.
• Change of the scene
Sometimes the scene of the hospital, beeping instruments and the smell of medicines can lead the pregnant woman to have anxiety or a panic attack which can stall the labor. A change of the room or the lighting can help to ease the fears of the woman. Using familiar perfumes and soothing music can help too. Once the pregnant mother is relaxed enough, the pregnancy will restart and proceed as expected.