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Birth Blog

How to Restart a Stalled Labour

One of the HypnoBirthing Philosophy premises is:

Each labour has its own time schedule. It may rest, or it may accelerate. The event should not be externally manipulated or managed if there is no special circumstance requiring it.

Labour can stall or shut down for reasons known or unknown. This may include the labouring mother becoming scared – either consciously scared of something she can refer to or subconsciously, a deeper fear of something she may not be able to work out exactly what.

Or it may be because that is just what that unique woman, baby and labour are meant to do.

Some women get resting periods to regain strength for mum and baby. And some women stay at a particular spot in labour, with the cervix not opening for many hours. This can be very normal.

However in our maternity system, many things can come into play when a labour rests. Some care providers are very respectful and some believe that a resting labour needs to be sped up to sooner achieve the end goal of birthing the baby.

In our HypnoBirthing Classes we talk about different strategies for if this should occur.

Some things you can try are:

  • Being patient – this absolutely number one. Try to determine if labour is slowing due to fear or just because. You will then know how to proceed.
  • Remove fear or stress – these things will slow labour so getting relaxed and calm is very important. It can take 20-60 minutes for your body to return to it’s pre-stressed state.
  • Rest – if your body is saying rest, then rest! Cuddle up in bed with your partner, even some skin to skin with each other is lovely. Take a nap if you can!
  • Nipple/clitoral stimulation – when we stimulate these parts of our body, we release oxytocin and endorphins, our two favourite birth hormones. These hormones trigger the uterus to surge as well as release beautiful feel good feelings.
  • Move those hips – figures 8’s on the birth ball or just swaying from side to side can be great. These actions move baby’s head closer toward the pelvis and create more even pressure on the cervix, encouraging it to open.
  • Massage – our HypnoBirthing Light Touch Massage is perfect for a resting labour. It will give mum a huge dose of birthing hormones to get things going again.
  • Release tension – using the HypnoBirthing Progressive Relaxation technique is wonderful for realised any tension throughout the body.
  • Walk – movement is encouraged if mum feels like it. A lap around the birthing suite or block can be a good idea but only if mum wants to leave her birthing space.
  • Bath – a rest in the bath can sometimes strengthen surges.
  • Deepening techniques – any of the deep hypnosis techniques learnt in classes are ideal for this time. By allowing mum to reach full mind body relaxation and access that special birthing mind set, her body and hormones can take over from her conscious mind.
  • Laughter – we have to read the room here! Is mum up for a laugh? Watching something funny creates endorphins and makes mum feel good.
  • Balloon Trip Script – this is bringing out the big guns! It’s one of the amazing scripts given to HypnoBirthing class attendees and has the power to ramp up a labour that has slowed. Ask any of our practitioners about it and I’m sure they will have some incredible stories to tell.

HypnoBirthing births don’t always unfold like regular labours. Periods of rest can often mean a very quick progression to active labour and even to the birthing phase.

Patience is so important – patience of yourself, of your support team and of your care provider.