Common Labor Complications | UnityPoint - Quad Cities
Common Labor Complications - UnityPoint Health Quad Cities

Common Labor Complications


When complications occur during labor, it can be alarming. However, being educated and aware of the complications that could possibly occur can help ease your fears and help you feel better prepared for the unexpected. Listed below are some common labor complications.

Labor doesn't progress

If your contractions aren't strong enough to move the baby down, or if your cervix isn't dilating despite your contractions, your doctor may tell you that your labor isn't progressing. If the contractions aren't strong enough, your doctor may hook you up to an IV and administer Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin to strengthen your contractions. If your labor still does not progress, your doctor may then do a cesarean birth.

Your baby doesn't tolerate labor

If the fetal heart monitor shows your baby's heart is beating at an irregularly fast pace, your doctor may inform you that your baby is not tolerating labor. Doctors can identify what healthy heart patterns look like on the fetal heart monitor screen, and know what precautions to take in order to regulate your baby's heart rate. To assess your baby's well-being, your doctor may do a fetal scalp pH test, which includes taking about 10 drops of blood from the baby's scalp and testing it to make sure your baby is getting enough oxygen. If your baby's oxygen level is fine, then your doctor may allow you to proceed with natural labor; otherwise your doctor will most likely deliver your baby by cesarean.

Forceps or vacuum delivery

If your baby has crowned, and you are too tired to continue pushing or the baby's heart rate has dropped, your doctor may opt to use a vacuum extractor or forceps, two tools used to help you give birth to your baby. This method may be faster than cesarean delivery, and there is minimal risk to you and your baby.

Breech delivery

A breech baby is one whose bottom or feet are situated to emerge first instead of his/her head. In most situations, your doctor will be able to detect that your baby is breech during one of your prenatal appointments and may attempt to manually turn the baby before your due date. However, not all breech babies are detected ahead of time as surprise turns can occur. If you arrive on your due date and your baby is breech, your doctor may choose to perform a cesarean.