Pregnancy Home > Failure to Progress Through Labor

Failure to progress through labor occurs when something slows down labor too much or stops it entirely. This is also sometimes called failure to progress in labor. The treatment for failure to progress through labor will depend on what's causing it in the first place.

Failure to Progress Through Labor: An Overview

After the start of labor, a woman typically goes through a series of stages before delivering her baby. For each woman, these stages may be faster or slower than what's considered normal. However, sometimes things can happen that slow down labor too much or stop it completely. This is called failure to progress through labor. Some examples of failure to progress through labor include the following:
 
  • The cervix may dilate very slowly
  • The baby may be in a position that prevents movement out of the uterus
  • The contractions may be too weak to push the baby out.
     
If you experience failure to progress in labor, the steps your doctor may take to treat it will depend on the reasons why labor has slowed down or stopped. For example, you may be given medication to increase the strength of your contractions, or an assisted delivery may be recommended.
 
You may want to discuss the possibility of failure to progress through labor with your doctor before you go into labor so that you understand the various treatment options that may be appropriate should the situation arise.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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