A long labor though normal can be difficult to handle.
It is especially common in first time pregnancies,
with labor lasting beyond the 12-18 grueling hour
range without medical intervention. Not only is it
exhausting, it makes the laboring woman feel unaccomplished.
Having said that it is difficult to quantify the total
length of labor before it is considered prolonged.
What becomes more of a concern is if labor is progressing
regularly without interruptions and arrests, with
time becoming a secondary factor.
behind Long Labor
There are a number of reasons for long labor apart
from it being common in first-time pregnancies:
• Size of baby and her position in the womb.
Labor begins properly but at some point there is
an arrest because of the correlation between the
mother's pelvis and baby's head.
• Inefficient or irregular contractions which
causes progress to be slow
• A mother who is tense or in fear can prolong
• Multiple pregnancy
the Chances of Long labor
• The mother should make attempts to relax.
Having some form of distraction (massage from the
partner, music, the company of family etc) will
put her mind off the rigors of labor.
• Keep eating and drinking during early labor
while you are still feel up to it to help maintain
your energy level.
• The mother should avoid lying down all the
time and instead walk around a bit. Staying mobile
or active helps to bring on contractions at regular
pace. Staying upright also helps
• If epidural
or pethidine is administered early on, it can consequently
slow down contractions. Sluggishness and even oversedation
• Avoid becoming fatigued by having enough
rest during the pre-labor phase. Don’t overdo things
in the last weeks of pregnancy but at the same time
eat and drink normal, go for short walks and relax.
• Staying relaxed is good as it helps you
cope with labor better. Going to the hospital too
early can tense the mother up because of the new
environment. It is better to stay home longer and
proceed to the hospital only if the water bag breaks,
the contractions are strong or if there is bleeding.
Close observation becomes necessary because prolonged
labor can get complicated. Before labor becomes prolonged
pitocin is given to stimulate contractions. Sometimes
situation corrects itself on its own. An example would
be baby manages to mold a bit and conform to the passageway.
And sometimes cesarean becomes necessary.