To get to be a parent is a great blessing, and giving birth means embracing a lot of unexpected changes. The experience is different for every mom. Sometimes your baby may arrive very quickly. At other times, not so fast. The speed with which you receive the good news is determined by a few factors, including how quickly labor progresses.
As we know, Labour can be easily characterized by a sequence of strong and repetitive muscular contractions. The baby is pushed out of the uterus (womb) and into the birth canal by these contractions. Now, these contractions may be felt in your lower back and your tummy. This is what we call labor pains. The contractions tend to aid in the dilation (widening) of the vaginal opening (called the cervix). This allows the baby to leave your body and enter the world awaiting now slowly. On average, first-time mothers are in labor for about 12 to 18 hours. If you have had a baby before, labor usually takes place more quickly, usually about half that amount of time.
What is prolonged labor?
When labor lasts longer than intended, it is simply referred to as prolonged labor, non-progressive labor, or failure to progress. According to studies, approximately 8% of individuals who are giving birth across the globe are affected by this. It can occur to anybody and for a variety of reasons.
It usually happens if it is your first delivery. The American Pregnancy Association defines prolonged labor as lasting for more than 20 hours. Failure to progress occurs when labor lasts more than 14 hours in women who have previously given birth. Prolonged labor in the early, or latent period can be very exhausting, but it seldom results in a lot of difficulties. If it occurs during the active phase, medical evaluation and intervention may be required.
Prolonged labor is defined as labor that lasts more than 16 hours if you are pregnant with twins or more. Slow labor may be referred to as “prolonged latent labor” by your doctor. It is possible that you will be in labor for a longer time if:
- The infant is too large to pass via the delivery canal.
- The infant is positioned incorrectly. Normally, the baby is facing your back with its head down.
- The infant cannot get through the birth canal because it is too narrow.
- Your contractions are not as strong as they should be.
Risks of prolonged labor
You are more likely to need a C-section if you have protracted labor. If you are having too-long labor, it can be harmful to the baby. It has the potential to cause:
- Abnormal cardiac beat in the baby
- Abnormal chemicals in the amniotic fluid
- Uterine infection
- Low oxygen levels for the baby.
- Worry, tension, and fear are examples of emotional elements.
Pain relievers can also help by diminishing or slowing uterine contractions. You will need an emergency delivery if the infant is in trouble or not able to come out. This is the moment when you and your baby’s health must be closely monitored.
The first piece of advice is to relax and wait if labor is not progressing. The American Pregnancy Association recommends going for a stroll, sleeping, or taking a warm bath. Health experts may prescribe labor-inducing medicines or recommend a cesarean delivery in the later stages.
What happens if labour takes longer than expected?
Most women wish for quick labor and delivery. However, if your labor appears to be taking a long time, rest assured that your doctor, nurse, or midwife will be attentively monitoring you and your baby for any issues throughout this time.
The medical team will do the following checks:
- How frequently do you experience contractions
- The force with which you contract.
The following tests could be carried out:
Intrauterine Pressure Catheter Placement (IUPC) – a little straw monitor is placed in the womb beside the baby and notifies your doctor when a contraction occurs as well as the strength of the contractions. If your doctor believes your contractions are not powerful enough, they may prescribe Pitocin.
EFM (electronic fetal monitoring) is a method of continuously measuring the baby’s heart rate.
What Is the Treatment for Prolonged Labour?
If your labor is taking longer than expected, you may be encouraged to take a break. Medicine is sometimes provided to assist you to relax and ease your labor pains. You could want to adjust your body position to feel more at ease. Additional treatment will be determined by the cause of your labor’s slowness.
If the baby is already in the delivery canal, the doctor or midwife may use forceps or a vacuum device to assist in pulling the baby out through the vaginal opening.
Pitocin may be given to you if your doctor believes you need more or stronger contractions (oxytocin). This medication strengthens and accelerates contractions. If your doctor determines that you are contracting sufficiently but your labor is still stopped, you may require a C-section.
You will require a C-section if the baby is too big or if the drug does not help you deliver faster.
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