Why Isn’t My Labor Progressing (Part 1 of 3)

First-time moms and pregnant mothers will often come to our office because they are having a difficult pregnancy and want to avoid a difficult labor.  Sometimes a woman’s labor may be slow to progress and the pregnant mom will want to seek natural options like chiropractic to aid or prevent a slowed labor.  At Color Chiropractic, we’ve worked with a number of these cases throughout our career and although every pregnancy can be a little different, there’s a foundational understanding that pregnant women should have of their bodies and why difficulties may arise. Having this knowledge can help them seek natural interventions sooner so these situations become remote. 

According to Williams Obstetrics, there are 3 main reasons why labor may not be progressing.  A medical term called dystocia is defined as abnormal or difficult labor.  In this next series of blogs, we’ll cover each of the reasons why dystocia occurs and give you perspective on how chiropractic addresses these issues.


Reason #1) Why Labor May Not Progress:  Power

In regards to dystocia, power is defined as abnormalities in the expulsive forces necessary to make labor happen.  The uterus is a hollow and powerful muscle capable of exerting expulsive forces to push the baby through the cervix.  If the muscle is too weak or receiving inappropriate signals from the nerve system, it will not be able to respond appropriately as labor progresses.

For instance, during the early (termed latent) phase of labor, the uterus may be so over contracted from stress and tension that it is not able to intensify the contractions to dilate the cervix for birth.  Because of this, there may be an increase in the frequency of the contractions, but there’s no power or intensity to the contractions. These contractions are not only painful but also ineffective to dilate/efface the cervix.  This results in prolonged labor.

Other situations, the later (termed active) phase of labor, may have its own challenges.  Here, the uterus may have difficulty exerting a full contraction due to exhaustion or when the uterus is overstretched.  This results in weakened contractions that may be inefficient or absent (fewer than 2-3 contractions in a 10 min. period).    

A Chiropractic Perspective to addressing power….

Throughout labor, changes in a woman’s body bring about a set of biomechanics and physical demands that the body has never experienced before.  As the baby grows, the weight pulls the mother’s spine and pelvis out of position which can affect the nerves that exit and innervate muscles like the uterus.  Proper nerve supply is a critical factor in the birthing process. Chiropractic adjustments not only help to relieve pain, but they also focus on the body’s ability to receive the messages they need.  Sometimes muscles need to contract and other times they need to relax. Taking care of your spine allows that process to occur smoothly and allows mother and baby to fully communicate and work together to allow birth to unfold.

Tune in next time as we discuss the other two possibilities that can slow labor.  We hope this information will prove useful and help you make the best decisions for your pregnancy.  Remember that if you have any questions or would like to know more about chiropractic’s approach to your pregnancy, schedule a free consultation to discuss your birthing needs.

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