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What is prolonged labor and why is it dangerous?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Birth Injuries

Giving birth is not an easy task. It truly is hard work. Even when everything goes smoothly and by the book, it takes a toll on the mother and the baby.

But when labor does not progress as it should, complications can occur. Doctors should watch for prolonged labor, which is when a woman is in active labor for more than 20 hours. For mothers who have had previous children, prolonged labor may occur at 14 hours.

The hallmarks of prolonged labor

Prolonged labor happens when a mother and baby are under a lot of stress due to the length of time of active labor. Active labor is when the uterus is contracting, and the cervix is changing. Early labor is the beginning of the process and usually lasts for some time. It is not concerning when early labor lasts for days.

Usually, the diagnosis of prolonged labor comes with a failure to progress. This means the body is not advancing through the stages of labor and delivery. It is essentially stuck in place without dilation or other signs the body is preparing to give birth.

Risks of prolonged labor

Being in active labor for too long causes a lot of stress on the baby, and it is difficult for the mother. It can lead to serious birth injuries, including death.

Moving forward from prolonged labor

It is up to the doctor and other medical professionals to carefully monitor a woman who is in prolonged labor. Staying in this state for too long is incredibly dangerous, and the doctor should move forward with methods to help progress labor, such as administering medications or doing a c-section.

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