Category Archives: prodomal labour

The Slow Labour: Patience is a Virtue

This is a chapter from a book by Henci Goer called The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.  This chapter is on slow labours and inductions.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth

Practical Information for a Safe, Satisfying Childbirth

Chapter 7: The Slow Labor: Patience is a Virtue

  1. Problems with Typical Management
    1. Active Management of Labor
    2. Procedures
  2. The Bottom Line
    1. Benefits and Risks of Techniques for Coping With Poor Progress
    2. Strategies to Avoid the Need for IV Oxytocin, Instrumental Delivery or Cesarean Section
  3. Gleanings from the Medical Literature
  4. Bibliography

Problems with Typical Management

Obstetricians treat women laboring slowly the way Peter Pan treated the Lost Boys. He expected everyone to adapt to his ideas of the way things should be. If they didn’t, Peter saw to it that they did. For example, the boys entered the Neverland underground home through hollow trees. If a boy didn’t fit his tree, James Barrie writes, Peter “did something” to the boy. So too with obstetric management. Obstetricians have inflexible ideas of how labor ought to go. If your labor doesn’t conform to that pattern, typical doctors “do something” to you to make you fit. There are, as you may gather, a number of drawbacks to this myopic approach.

The first is that the standard for labor progress doesn’t give you nearly enough time before you are declared over the line. Doctors base their standard on studies from the 1950s and 60s supposedly of normal labors, but many women had interventions that could shorten labor such as oxytocin (trade name: Pitocin or “Pit”) or forceps delivery. A recent study evaluating healthy women who had no interventions that would affect labor length got very different results. For example, the standard says that starting from 4 centimeters cervical dilation, the average first-time mother will take 6 hours to achieve full dilation of 10 centimeters. Doctors set the cutoff defining “abnormal” progress in dilation at 12 hours for first-time mothers and 6 hours for women with previous births because, according to the standard-setting studies, only 5% of women will take longer than this. However, the new study found that average duration in first-time mothers was 7 1/2 hours, not 6, and the threshold for abnormal, fell at 19 1/2 hours, not 12, in first-time mothers and over 13 1/2 hours, not 6, in women with prior births. The standard also stipulates smooth, linear progress. More than a relatively brief halt is thought to require action. However, averaging many labors together evens out the variations. Individual labors often don’t work this way. Read the rest of this entry »


Good reason for an Epidural – Surviving a long labour

Another article I wish I had read when I was pregnant with Gabe!  Prodromal Labour is horrible! I remember after being in labour for 60 hours (and having no sleep in that whole time), I told the midwife ‘I am just so tired; I don’t know how much longer I can do this for’.  Her answer: ‘Well you’ve got another cervical check in 2 hours, so we’ll see how you are going then, and then we can talk about an epidural or some pethedine’.  To be completely honest, my thoughts consisted of ‘an epidural? Really? Is that all?  I just want this to be over. A c/section would be fine. I don’t care’.  Luckily, he was born exactly 2 hours later, so the epidural and the c/s were out of the question. 

This article is great at describing how normal this type of labour is.  That there is nothing to fear, and that unfortunately, it is something that many women just have to put up with.  I found that incredibly comforting, when looking towards #2’s birth.

Written on May 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm by Birth Sense


On rare occasions, an epidural–usually something I like to avoid–can be a blessing, allowing mother complete pain relief and the opportunity to rest.

Sharla’s birth story:

I was pregnant with my first baby in 2005, and looking forward to having a completely natural, non-interventive labor and birth.  I wanted to bring my baby into this world without drugs in her system, and I wanted to experience all of my labor.  I prepared myself for all the aspects of labor I could read about, but I was not prepared to have to make a change in plans. Read the rest of this entry »


Pre-labour Rupture of Membranes

This is an article of great interest to me due to Gabe’s PROM.  I wish I had had this evidence back then.  But then again, I didn’t have the faith in my body to just wait it out, back then, either.  Gee I’ve found lots of great articles today!  Insane! 

Pre-labour Rupture of Membranes: impatience and risk


Most women experience their waters breaking towards the end of labour. However, for a significant minority their waters break before labour begins. The standard approach to this situation is to augment labour by using prostaglandins and/or syntocinon aka pitocin to stimulate contractions. Women who choose to wait are often told their baby is at increased risk of infection and they are encouraged to have IV antibiotics during labour. In my experience most women agree to have their labour augmented rather than wait. I wonder how many of these women would choose a different path if they knew there was no increased risk of infection for their baby? Read the rest of this entry »


No such thing as false labour!

I just copied one section from this article.  The rest of the article goes through all of labour, but this bit just really struck a cord with me 🙂

What Happens During Labor?

by Pam Cass

Prodromal Labor
Often in the past prodromal labor has been given the misnomer “false labor”, yet every woman experiencing it has said in frustration “There’s nothing false about what I’m feeling!” The misunderstanding has arisen because prodromal labor can feel very much like active labor, yet is not consistently progressive; it does not lead without a break to the birth of the baby. It does, though, serve an important function in the birth process. Prodromal labor does the preliminary work of preparing the uterus, baby and cervix for birth. All of this work has to be done before the baby can be born. Some women’s bodies do it all without her being aware of it. However, some women’s bodies draw a great deal of attention to the work being done. Too much sometimes.
“This is driving me crazy,” one pregnant mother sighed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in All, false labour, prodomal labour


Childbirth Facts What women should know about giving birth

10 Childbirth Facts

What women should know about giving birth

by Ceridwen Morris   |  November 16, 2010


Fact 1: It’s not like the movies
In the movies, the water breaks, everyone panics, mom wobbles up, grabs her belly, and on cue has an enormous contraction, then yells for a taxi. In real life, the water usually breaks during labor and if it does break early, there’s no reason to run screaming to the hospital. Real-life labor is really hard, but it’s not one big screaming emergency. Every labor is unique, but perhaps none more “unique” than the mythical Hollywood birth.


Fact 2: Your due date is more like a due month
A full-term pregnancy is anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks. The estimated due date (EDD) is an educated guess, not a firm deadline. The majority of babies are born before or after their due dates; most first-time babies are born an average of four days past the EDD. It can be hard to mentally plan for a whole due month, but a due date is too specific. So, how about a due fortnight? Read the rest of this entry »

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