What Is Dystocia?

One way to try to overcome dystocia is to make the contractions stronger and more frequent with intravenous oxytocin. By increasing the strength of the contractions, it is hoped that baby may rotate or mold her head to fit better. Caregivers also can move labor along by providing pain relief or rest for the mother. A variety of medications and anesthetic techniques can control pain or allow the mother to sleep and rebuild her energy stores.

Rupturing the amniotic sac may assist in overcoming dystocia. The procedure is thought to stimulate release of prostaglandin and encourage the baby's head to settle down against the cervix.

The Effects of Emotion During Labor
Midwives often consider the psyche when caring for an expectant mom, as we are constantly faced with the effects of stress and fear on labor and birth. Labor can slow down or stop in the face of intense emotion. Research has demonstrated that victims of abuse or violence need very special care during labor. There's a significant amount of evidence that the presence of another woman in the role of care provider reduces the mother's fear and can reduce her risk of prolonged labor and cesarean birth.

Preventing Dystocia
Prevention is the best therapy.
-- In early pregnancy, pay attention to nutrition and activity. Prepare your body for the stress and demands of labor and birth by eating a carefully planned diet rich in whole grains, protein from a variety of sources, fruits and vegetables. Keep weight gain within recommended limits and maintain a daily exercise regimen.
-- Learn about childbirth techniques and what to expect. Prepare a wish list of your birth preferences and work with a care provider to stay healthy and informed.
-- Fewer interventions are performed in women who come to the hospital or birthing center later, when they're in active labor. Heed the advice of your midwife or doctor, but try to stay home as long as possible.
-- Change positions frequently in labor and get up to walk frequently. Find out if your hospital or birthing center offers water birth. Warm water has been shown to reduce time spent in labor and the need for pain medication.

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