Causes of labor that is progressing too slowly include the following:
A fetus that is too big to move through the birth canal (pelvis and vagina)
A fetus in an abnormal position
A birth canal that is too small
Contractions of the uterus that are too weak or not often enough to keep the fetus moving
Occasionally, contractions that are too strong or close together
Doctors estimate the size of the fetus and birth canal and check the fetus’s position. They also check the strength and timing of contractions. These factors determine treatment.
If the birth canal is big enough for the fetus but labor is not progressing, the woman is given oxytocin intravenously to stimulate the uterus to contract more forcefully. If oxytocin is unsuccessful, a cesarean delivery Cesarean Delivery Cesarean delivery is surgical delivery of a baby by incision through a woman’s abdomen and uterus. In the United States, up to 30% of deliveries are cesarean. Doctors use a cesarean delivery... read more may be necessary. Or if the baby is already in position to be delivered, a vacuum extractor or forceps Operative Vaginal Delivery Operative vaginal delivery is delivery using a vacuum extractor or forceps. A vacuum extractor consists of a small cup made of a rubberlike material that is connected to a vacuum. It is inserted... read more may be used instead.
If the fetus is too big, cesarean delivery is done.