Birth Definitions

Augmentation Of Labor Definition


Augmentation of labor is the process of artificially stimulating labor in order to progress a stalled or slow labor. It is also sometimes used to induce labor in cases where the mother or baby has a medical condition that warrants intervention.

There are several reasons why a doctor may recommend augmentation of labor. The most common reason is that the mother is not progressing through labor at an adequate pace. This can be due to a variety of factors, including insufficient contractions, an overly relaxed cervix, or fetal positioning issues. In some cases, augmentation may be recommended to avoid further complications, such as maternal exhaustion or fetal distress.

Augmentation of labor is typically diagnosed when a mother has been in active labor for more than six hours without making significant progress (i.e., dilating less than one centimeter per hour). In some cases, doctors may also use other criteria, such as maternal exhaustion or fetal distress, to justify starting augmentation sooner. Once it has been determined that augmentation is warranted, the medical team will determine the best method for inducing additional contractions. This will typically involve either medication (e.g., Pitocin) or mechanical methods (e.g., breaking the water bag).

Complications Associated with Augmentation of Labor

The most common complication associated with augmentation of labor is uterine rupture. This occurs when the uterus tears along its lengthwise axis and can lead to serious maternal bleeding and even death if not treated immediately. Other potential complications include placental abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely) and maternal hemorrhage (excessive bleeding). These complications are relatively rare but can occur more frequently when augmentation is used inappropriately or without proper monitoring by trained medical personnel.

This image shows how often the term ‘Augmentation Of Labor’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

Other Related Terms

Several terms are closely related to the augmentation of labor, including induction of labor and artificial rupture of membranes (AROM). Induction of labor is the process of artificially stimulating labor before it begins spontaneously. This is typically done for medical reasons, such as when the mother has a health condition that warrants intervention (e.g., diabetes) or when the baby is thought to be too large for a vaginal delivery. Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) is a procedure in which the doctor breaks the water bag surrounding the baby to speed up the progress of labor. This is typically done when the cervix is already dilated and there is little progress being made despite strong contractions.

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