Natural Birth

failure to progress

I know every birth is different, but I have this fear that what happened with my mother will happen with me. She tried to have all 4 of us naturally and ended up with a CS each time because her body did not dialate. Has this happened to anyone attempting a natural birth? Were there any techniques you did that helped your body progress? I think that's my biggest fear... I'll be working through all these contractions and then hours and hours later I'll still be at 3 cm.

 

 

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Re: failure to progress

  • Sounds like she may simply have gotten to the hospital too early...? If you stay at home for as long as possible, you'll avoid even being on their timetable to begin with. Did your mother go into labor spontaneously? Did her water break first but contractions fail to start? There are a lot of factors that might have contributed. FWIW, I stayed at home for the first 9 hours of labor, got to the hospital around 6 cm, and gave birth to my daughter about 4-5 hours later. I stalled out around 8cm for an hour or two, at which point I demanded my MW break my waters for me (the only "intervention" I received, at my own request), and within what seemed like minutes I was pushing. Everyone's experience is different -- just because it happened with your mother does not mean it is destined to be your fate as well!
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  • I will echo pp - don't be in a hurry to get to the hospital. I laboured at home, which meant I could do it on own timeframe. It also meant I didn't know how dilated I was - I didn't have a check until I was 10 cm.

    Generally, being in a relaxing environment will help. Moving around, keeping hydrated, and doing what makes you comfortable helps progression. Being stressed, feeling watched/under pressure, and sometimes early epidurals will slow progression. 

  • I agree with PPs. Labor at home as long as possible. And be well-prepared to do so...read about Bradley Method, or some other method. If possible take classes. It seems the rare case that a woman can successfully give birth naturally without preparation--and often a good bit of it. You can do this! Good luck!
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  • Sometimes failure to progress is failure to wait. I in no way say that to demean or question your mom's experiences, but for me--I was in labor for over 60 hours with DS1. One of the reasons to decline internal exams is so that no one is putting you on a clock. Rather, let your body tell you when it is time versus a measurement. Both of my boys started labor OP and that can lead to very very long labors. Ditto PPs--if you are having a hospital birth, wait until you cannot talk to through contractions or smile for a picture before going in. Now, with DS1, that still was 2 days before he was born. I left after 24 hours when things slowed down to avoid Pit. I then returned 8 hours later when things got super-intense again. (OP labor can be wacky like that.)

  • My mom had a 36 hour labor with my brother and only dilated to 1cm, with me she stayed home and vbac-ed after a 16 hour labor and only a couple hours at the hospital. Give yourself time at home and keep moving as long as you can.

    I had no trouble with progressing with DS1 even though my mom had a history of it.

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  • I think if I had had a hospital birth they would have labeled me failure to progress. I was at 1 cm for 20 hours after my water broke but I went from 1 to 10 in two hours.

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  • I asked my midwife (I'm planning a home birth) about failure to progress and without being so blunt as this, she pretty much said that "failure to progress" is a load of hospital BS (the majority of the time).  In her 25 years of experience with home birth she has never transferred to hospital for failure to progress. Insurance companies set a lot of birthing standards, etc., etc.  Labor at home as long as you feel is safe so that you're not rushed.
  • I hate that term failure to progress. I plan to stay at home as long as possible. I told my husband no matter how hard im crying or moaning, to keep me home until it is absolutely necessary. I think being in a hospital will just make me more uncomfortable, id rather be in pain at home
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  • Ditto all the PP.  Also, research the Natural Alignment Plateau. 

    And read Ina May's book.  Some of the birth stories talk about how mental the process of dilating can be.  Some women need to learn to let go and open up.  

    Having said all that, don't worry about what might happen.  Every birth is different and you're not destined to labor or deliver like your mom. Just try not to fight against the work your body is doing and chances are, you'll be fine.  Good luck!

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  • HyalineHyaline
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    What pps said about staying home, and have a supportive care provider.  Everyone on my "team" (the LD nurses at our hospital, my MW, the OB in her practice) were all supportive of me going as long as I wanted to provided no one was in danger.  I was in labor for almost 24 hours and c-section was never mentioned (except in the context of "Don't worry, we have no reason to be talking c-section").  I progressed just fine until 9 cm--and stalled out for four hours.  They were all great about encouraging me to try anything and everything I wanted to get things going.  In the end, I chose to get pitocin and an epi because I was wiped out.  But because I trusted my care team, and they made it my decision, not pushing for their choice, I was confident in that decision.

    Really--having providers you trust is huge.  You want to be able to rely on them in those tough points and trust their advice if it does come to a point that intervention is on the table.  There are times when medical intervention is necessary or preferable--but you don't want to feel that you're being pushed into something.  Do your research, if you're not 100% comfortable with your provider and can't switch, consider a doula to be "in your corner" if you need some more support. 

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