3 causes of Dystocia (difficult / prolonged labour)

Dystocia is a general term for a Difficult Birth/ Abnormal labour, whether that may be for a mum who fails to progress without intervention, the use of instrumentation to help baby out or the need for C-section delivery.

Dr Michael explains:

Before explaining the 3 main causes of Dystocia and what you can do to help prevent it, we need to talk about the difference between a ‘normal birth’ vs a ‘common birth’. Most of our new pregnant mums that come into our practice think that a normal labour/birth might include induction via Syntocinon, episiotomy, epidural and/or C-section, although these are sometimes much needed to make sure mum and baby are safe, these interventions describe a “common birth” in today’s world rather than a “normal birth”. 

1.Abnormal Contractions of the Uterus & Failure of the Cervix to Dilate (Power)

All the muscles within our bodies are controlled by the nervous system, if there is any dysfunction within the nervous system the ability of the body to contract the uterus/ dilate the cervix may be affected causing prolonged or difficult labour and the need for intervention. Often women think that weakened contractions cause difficulties during which is true, however, if these muscles are over contacting and stuck in spasm this can also cause Dystocia. 

For birth to proceed as it was naturally designed to without Dystocia, the nervous system must facilitate the transmission of information from the brain to the body. By removing interference and imbalances to the nervous system, chiropractic care may help lead to a normal physiological birth. 

A recent study completed here in New Zealand found that “pregnant women who received chiropractic care had a greater ability to relax their pelvic floor muscles at rest” (Haavik, Murphy & Kruger, 2016). This ability to relax the pelvic floor muscles could benefit pregnant women, as it may help them have a natural vaginal birth” 

2. Pelvic balance (Passage)

Our pelvis is designed to move freely for many different tasks, when walking for example our pelvis is designed to open and close to allow ease during our stride. 

This is no different during labour and delivery, as the baby descends through the birth canal the balance of the mother’s pelvis is vitally important. When there is pelvic imbalance it is common to hear that the baby is “stuck” or the baby is “too big”, the majority of the time this is down to the pelvis’s inability to open and expand properly due to the pelvis being stuck. 

The aim of Chiropractic care is to improve the balance between the muscles, ligaments and uterus in order to move and function freely, resulting in greater ease during the pregnancy and birth. 

3. Babies Position (Passenger)

Unborn babies are exceptionally intelligent, the way a baby twists and turns through the birth canal during labour without any external help is amazing! The baby always wants to be in the best possible position to descend through the birth canal however pelvic imbalances can alter the position of the baby making labour a little more difficult or possibly leading to Breach, Transverse, Acenclitic presentations. 

Birth is a cooperative endeavor, where the mum and baby both play vital roles, ensuring that their nervous systems are connected and free of subluxation & ensuring pelvic balance may lead to assisting the mother to have the birthing experience she had planned. 

Our goal at Chiropractic House is to empower mothers to make plans and decisions around their birth and delivery that feels right for themselves, their baby and their families, through education & preparation and to support you along this amazing journey.


If you think chiropractic might be able to help, or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask the team when you are next in for your chiropractic check. If you are not a practice member then please feel free to contact us direct.

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Call now on 07 928 0152 to book your appointment.