Natural Birth

anxiety and failing to dilate?

Hi ladies,


I am wondering if anyone has experience with their dilation not progressing for a period, while contractions remained strong and regular? What (and how) did you do to get the dialation progressing again to go on to deliver vaginally?


My last labour ended in a csection i think (hope)  because i was so worked up with all of the hospital staff arguing with me (i was refusing an IV and EFM..even tho i was using the telemetry monitoring..they were really against my decision). I was progressing nicely until we got to the hospital (home births are not an option here unfortunately)


So i am wondering if being able to relax during labour might have made a difference??

thank you for any experiences you can share with me!! 

Re: anxiety and failing to dilate?

  • I think relaxing absolutely makes a difference. I'm reading "Your Best Birth" which has several stories of labour stalling when the mom was uncomfortable or waiting for dad to arrive.

    Knowing what you know, I'd look for a new hospital and/or a doula for next time. 

  • I agree with PP, get a doula or family member to help stand up for your choices. Staying emotionally relaxed definitely helps to keep things moving. 
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  • I just finished reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and it seems like the first thing she does when a labor stalls is try to figure out if anything is stressing the laboring woman out. Sometimes she says it's as simple as turning down a bright light, but once a woman wouldn't progress anymore until they had redone her wedding vows the way she had wanted them originally! I also agree with PPs that getting someone else to fight for you would be good. DH answered 90% of the triage questions for me and told me what to answer anytime I was asked a question during transition. It really allowed me to just focus on laboring and my body pushed out a 9lb., posterior, bobble head, in under 8 hrs.
    Married to E on June 5, 2010
    Gave birth to baby boy, I, on March 25, 2012
    Gave birth to baby girl, A, on May 20, 2013
    Baby #3 due April 29, 2015

    Recovering from mitochondrial dysfunction and Addison's/possibly very severe adrenal burn out using food, medicine, and a large amount of garden therapy.
  • I labored for 24 hours and only got to 4cm. For the last 8 hours of that, my contractions were increasingly strong, incredibly painful, coming every 2 to 3 minutes and lasting 90 seconds each. At that point, I'd been awake for nearly 2 days and could not cope with the pain. My midwife ultimately suggested we transfer to the hospital so I could get an epidural. I got one around 2 am, fell asleep and woke up at 6:30am fully dilated and ready to push. I pushed my DD out in 40 minutes.
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  • Sometimes getting into a birthing tub / pool will help you relax enough to get you over the hump, plus it helps relieve some of the pain. Standing and letting gravity help goes a long way. The longer you can put off interventions like an epi, if you choose to get one, the more mobile you can be and gravity, or just changing positions, can help work the baby down and help dilate.
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  • Being able to relax is SO important!  Though easier said than done, I'm fully aware.  I was facing induction 9 days past due when a friend lent me her Hypnobirthing tapes.  I had dilated a couple centimeters, but stopped there.  Those techniques really helped me relax, and I went into labor naturally as I was listening to them for the first time.  Also, my mom & husband were well versed on my birth plan to advocate for me, so I could focus on the task at hand.  I had discussed every point of my birth plan with my OB at an earlier office visit, made it very clear and had it in 3 locations- including the nurses station, my file, and bedside, so there were no questions about my intentions.  A friend I coached stopped dilating after a stressful encounter at the hospital before I arrived & after several hours of strong contractions, but very little dilation no matter what we did, she finally took a pill to relax her (though it did little for the pain) and within 10 minutes her water broke & in another hour she was in transition.  Best wishes for a more relaxing experience this time around!
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  • You could just "accidentally" give birth at home next time! ;)

    I think having a really great doula is very important to staying relaxed in a hospital setting and avoiding c-sections. Having a doula actually cuts the likelihood of a c-section in half.

    You could also take Hypnobabies and make sure you have a detailed Birth Plan that spells out what you want. Granted sometimes there are real emergencies, so be a bit flexible with that and be ready for those as much as possible in your Birth Plan. 

    Not sure where you live, but you could also check into going across state lines or some such thing. There are places like The Farm in Tennessee that allow women to come and stay for a couple weeks before their due date and birth there and whatnot.

  • I think relaxing makes the world of a difference. I was not relaxed at all! I spent most of my labor arguing with my now ex husband. I labored without pain medication for 18 hours. In that time I stayed at 1.5cm. no progress. I got an epidural and kicked my ex out of the room and finally relaxed. 3 hours later I was fully dilated!
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  • Thanks so much for the replies!!

    I'm actually in Alberta, Canada..I say homebirth is not an option b/c I am now deemed too "high-risk" for a midwife to even take me on as a client for a hospital delivery:( there is a serious shortage of trained midwives here unfortunately. I have heard a great deal about the "Farm" and so wish we had something like that here!! 


    I did actually have a doula, but i think i just didn't choose wisely there, because she did not stand up for me or encourage me at all during labour. She seemed more concerned with her own reputation at the hospital and getting along with the OBs.  


    I will definitely check out the hypnobirth book and choose my labour companions more wisely i think.


    I have seriously thought about an "accidental" home birth..but i would never be able to forgive myself (nor would my husband) if something i don't think i have enough confidence to go that route..I think I just have to figure out some way to relax at the hospital and figure out how to get the staff on my side?(good luck to

  • I labored for a long time till 5cm, my midwife stretched me to 7cm or so after a period of heavy labor, but I didn't progress at that point. What helped? What helped me was transferring to a hospital (not necessarily what I wanted but I had been in labor for over a day at that point), I got the epi and was ordered to sleep (I could at that point because the back pain diminished) on my stomach, laying on a bean bag...hospitals have them! Anyway, the baby obviously needed to turn correctly. I wish my midwife was more active in my labor process but she wasn't because she was on the phone with some crazy woman threatening to break her own water to start labor. Yeah. The student midwife with me didn't offer any support so no one suggested trying different positions because baby wasn't in the right presentation, thus back labor. Anyway, after sleeping three hours I went to 10cm and delivered vaginally thankfully. I think because I labored out of the hospital for so long though, I was able to avoid a cs. My labor was nearly two days.
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