lack of progress; slow-no dilation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-29-2008, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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9 days after my extremely difficult homebirth transfer that resulted in every intervention in the book including a c-section I am still wondering why I was taking forever to dilate? I went into the hospital with a couple of risk factors: baby was 42+5 weeks and I had thick meconium in my waters. I had 13 hours of intervention free labor that turned directions very quickly when I was still only 2cm at that time. Doctors were not willing to go any further without interventions due to the risk factors. By the end (22 hours) I was only dilated 5cm and the baby's heart was decelerating occasionally so that was the end of labor for me.

I feel that if I had of been at home as planned and the baby wasn't into that scary overdue time I could've ridden it out and eventually dilated. Maybe after a couple of days? Who knows. Before the pitocin(which stressed my little man out) and the epidural my own contractions were 30 seconds to 5 seconds apart but afterwards they petered out to a measly 12-15 minutes apart with the pitocin turned off. What I don't understand is why was I dilating so slowly considering the strength and closeness of my original contractions and then the pitocin augmented ones? I have spoken to several women since who had very similar experiences. Seems that lack of progress is a very common issue. Why are some woman so slow to dilate??? Any insights? I did hypnobabies, EPO, RRL, tonnes of walking, etc.

BTW, I am now the proud mother of a very healthy 8lb 15 oz baby boy.
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#2 of 6 Old 07-29-2008, 12:32 PM
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Congrats on your baby! It sounds, from your brief story (the thick meconium and decels), like you did the right thing with the c/s, though I know that's a disappointing experience (BDTD). As for the dilation thing...

Could be bad positioning. Did you have a sense of what station your baby was at? If your baby's head or the amniotic sac is not effectively pressing against your cervix during the ctx, you won't dilate very quickly. This is one reason that amniotomy usually speeds things up (b/c the head is hard and it presses directly on the cervix)

Have you ever had any gyn surgery that would leave a scar on your cervix?
Any STDs like HPV or chlamydia?
Any conditions like endometriosis or fibroids?

Potentially these things could prevent your cervix from effacing and dilating easily... but like you mentioned, I've talked to a few women who just don't seem to dilate and there's no clear explanation for it. Still, the fact that you got to 5 cm is very promising for a future VBAC b/c getting to 5 will likely happen a lot faster the next time around.

I wish you a quick recovery!

Mom to James (ribboncesarean.gif 5/2006), Claire (vbac.gif 6/2008), furry kitties Calvin and Bob, and wife to Dennis. 

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#3 of 6 Old 07-29-2008, 12:35 PM
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I think in most cases, women go to the hospital too soon and they have no idea about things they can do to encourage labor, then they get all the interventions that come with "failure to progress" when you're in the hospital. I think labor is taken seriously way too soon, and most of the time everything is totally normal, and they just get railroaded because they don't know any better.

In your case? I don't know. I will say that I had surgery on my cervix (probably unnecessary, before I knew doctors suck more often than not ), and it took me 24 hours from PROM to get to 4 cm. Then I progressed quickly to 10. My 2nd came in less than 4 hours. I think I had scar tissue that made dilation progress slowly early on. It was broken up for my 2nd so it didn't cause any problems. That's my theory anyway. Maybe something like that. It sounds like your transfer was justified and something was off.

Laura, CBE and mom to Maddiewaterbirth.jpg ( 06/03/04) & Graceuc.jpg (  09/10/06)
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#4 of 6 Old 07-29-2008, 06:59 PM
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The first thing that comes to my mind is positioning as well. There is so much more to it than baby being just head down! I think cervical issues can be a factor, as well as a mama's ability to relax. Sometimes its hard to just "let go" & allow the body to do what it needs to do. Not saying that's the case with you, but I do think that's it with some women.


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#5 of 6 Old 07-29-2008, 07:06 PM
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Positioning has a lot to do with it. I labored on and off for days before my very large child flipped from posterior, and he was born very very quicky after such.

Though artificial rupture of membranes may 'speed things up' for some women, for those with positioning issues it can compound the baby down into an even more unfortunate postion - which usually then leads to cesarean. My son needed that fluid to help him switch positions.

With birth, its so important not to mess with anything. Any augmentation can lead to a snowball, and turn the slightest thing into a csec.

eta: DS2 was born at 42wks 5 days, and I wouldn't call it 'scary overdue' for me. He was right on time, no signs of fetal distress or placental failure.
DS1 was born 10 days past my due date. He was induced, which was a mistake on my part.
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#6 of 6 Old 07-30-2008, 11:38 AM
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hi... i can only speak to my own experiences.... my pg tend to go longer than the prescribed 40 weeks first of all. the one time i was induced (first time around, big mistake) i dilated much slower than in the next 2 natural births. baby just wasn't ready that time. in my second labor, i reached a point that dilation slowed and i believe it was due to baby getting into the right position. progress in labor should be measured by many things... not just dilation. if baby changes position rotates, descends etc.. this should be considered progress too. but this is not as measurable. so i think that a "stall" in dilation could mean that progress is being made in other areas and that we need trust the process and be patient. i also think that sometimes the uterus needs to rest and our body slows down the process of dilation for this reason. again, need to trust the process... these are just my random thoughts about my own experiences... congrats on your baby!!



jen mommy to dd1 (11y), dd2 (6y) and ds (3y)
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