Protracted labor is a term used in the pregnancy and birthing industry to describe a particularly long and difficult labor. It is characterized by a slow or stalled dilation of the cervix, often accompanied by strong and painful contractions. Protracted labor can be caused by a number of factors, including a large baby, an unusually shaped pelvis, the mother’s pelvis being small, the muscles of the uterus not contracting effectively, or problems with the positioning of the baby. Protracted labor can also be caused by a build-up of meconium in the amniotic fluid, which can lead to fetal distress.
Risk Factors and Complications
Risk factors for protracted labor include a history of previous long labors, obesity, advanced age, and nulliparity. Complications associated with protracted labor include maternal exhaustion, dehydration, uterine rupture, and postpartum hemorrhage.
The term “protracted labor” is sometimes used interchangeably with “dystocia.” However, dystocia specifically refers to difficulties with uterine contractions, while protracted labor may also refer to other problems that prolong the labor process (such as fetopelvic disproportion).
Other Related Terms
Some terms that are closely associated with protracted labor include “augmentation of labor,” “forceps delivery,” and “vacuum extraction.”
Some terms that are closely associated with protracted labor include dystocia, arrest disorders, and cephalopelvic disproportion.
This image shows how often the term ‘Protracted Labor’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:
Do you know a man who wants to learn more about birth? Send him our way! Also, men and women are welcome to join our free public community of Dads helping Dads be better at birth.