Why Isn’t My Labor Progressing (Part 2 of 3)

In our previous post, we talked about one reason why labor might not progress.  According to William’s Obstetrics, the concept of power to muscles like the uterus is essential for birth to occur. Chiropractic adjustments take the pressure off nerves and allow muscles like the uterus to receive the full power they need to push babies out of the womb.  

If you want to know more about how power affects birth, check out our last post.  This week, let’s talk about another factor in William’s Obstetrics that can slow the progression of labor.  

Reason #2 to Why Labor Isn’t Progressing:  Passage

When we talk about dystocia (aka abnormal or difficult labor), the term passage refers to abnormalities of the mother’s pelvis.  Women have different pelvic types that can pose challenges to the birthing process.  A woman’s pelvis may be different based on factors like: race, body type and development.  Sometimes you can tell the shape of a woman’s pelvis because of the physique of the women. Here are highlights and patterns of each pelvic type.

What’s Your Pelvic Type?

Type 1)  Gynecoid Pelvis (50% of women): Think Circular.

This is the most common pelvic type among women.  A gynecoid pelvis has a nearly circular pelvic inlet.  This is the ideal shape for childbirth. Women with this pelvic type typically have small shoulders, a small waist, and wide hips. 

Type 2:  Android Pelvis (20% of women):  Think Triangular.

Although less common, the pelvic inlet of an android pelvis is more heart/triangle shaped with the widest portion towards the woman’s back and the narrow towards the front.  This pelvis looks more like a male pelvis and is more common in white women or women with a short and stocky build. Because the butt bones (aka Ischial spines) are more prominent and close together for Android types, the baby’s descent may be slower late in the labor.

Type 3:  Anthropoid Pelvis (25% of women):  Think Oval shaped.

A woman with an anthropoid pelvis is longer from front to back than from side to side.  The inlet is more oval-shaped and is more common in women who are tall and have narrow hips.  This pelvic type is much more common in black women and because of the shape of the pelvis, birth can be more challenging since it is common to have posterior positioned babies.

Type 4:  Platypelloid type (5% of women):  Think kidney-shaped.

This type of pelvis is often a mix of the other pelvic shapes.  The pelvic inlet is kidney-shaped being much wider from side to side than from front to back.  Because of the width of this pelvic type, the baby may need to tilt its head in order to engage in the pelvis.

Hope Against the Odds

With so much variation in a woman’s pelvis, it can be a little distressing for pregnant women to think that the odds are stacked against anything other than a gynecoid pelvis.  However, regardless of their pelvic type, each variation is fully capable of giving birth to a baby. Here are two reasons why.

  1. Teamwork
    Although a woman’s birth providers know a lot about the human body, pregnant women have the unique experience of growing, feeling and knowing their baby.  During pregnancy, the baby grows to know it’s environment and attentive moms can grow to listen to their body, understand it and be aware of their baby’s needs.  At Color Chiropractic, we‘ve grown to acknowledge that a mother’s body is designed for the unique needs of their baby. This intimate connection must be preserved and maintained for the mother and baby to work together.
  2. Adaptability
    Although a woman’s pelvis is unique, it is also movable.  The pelvis is meant to move and adapt to the stress of the growing baby.  Certain muscles and hormonal changes take place throughout pregnancy to accommodate for shifts and changes during birth.   One of the reasons why chiropractic adjustments are so effective throughout pregnancy is because of its ability to find misalignments that can cause constraint, strain, and compensation to the birthing process.  Addressing these misalignments throughout pregnancy and labor can help mother and baby adapt to potential problems that may arise during labor.

In summary, a woman’s pelvis plays a role in the delivery process.  Although some pelvic types are more advantageous than others for birth, women must not forget to listen to their bodies, listen to their baby and do everything they can to ensure that the pelvis is able to move freely throughout labor.  

Join us next week as we conclude our discussion.  As always, if you have specific questions about your birth and how chiropractic can help, schedule a free consultation with one of our doctors.

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