Complications in Labor

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Complications can occur at any time in labor. There are three stages of labor and complications can be different in each of the three stages ( the first stage, the second stage and the third stage).

Sometimes, the same complication occurs from the beginning of the first stage through to the end of the seond stage.

Complications in the third stage are usually different from the first two stages but may be a consequence of these stages.

Complications can be faced by either the baby or the mother or by both at the same time. They can range from the very minor to very severe to fatal complications.

It is difficult to predict when complications can set in. But, on the whole, risks of labor complications are comparatively less in a healthy woman who has had regular prenantal care than in a woman who has chronic illness or who has had no prenantal care or who has a history of previous labor complications.

The following are some of the common complications.

Complications in First Stage of Labour

Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)

Cephalopelvic Disproportion or 'CPD' is one of the commonest causes of complications in labor. It implies disproportion between the head of the baby ('cephalus') and the mother's pelvis. Complications can occur if the fetal head is too large to pass through the mother's pelvis or birth canal. This can be because of a small pelvis and an average sized fetus, a large baby with an average sized pelvis or because of malposition of the fetal head, resulting in inability of the fetal head to pass through the pelvis. Read more ...

Fetal Distress

Fetal Distress is not exactly a complication but a symptom of an underlying complication like prolonged labor, placental insufficiency, excess stress on the fetus etc. But it does need immediate management. Read more ...

Prolonged Labour

Labor is said to be prolonged when the combined duration of both the first stage and second stages of labor is more than 18 hours. It is more common in a first pregnancy and in women over the age of 35 years. Read more ...

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Complications in Second Stage of Labour

Delayed Second Stage

The second stage of labour is said to be delayed if there is no delivery of the baby even after 2 hours of full dilation of the cervix. There are various causes of delay in the second stage of labor. These are all closely linked to each other. Read more ...

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a potentially fatal complication that can occur during the second stage of labor. In this condition, the baby's head is delivered normally, but the shoulder gets impacted (stuck) in the vagina and cannot be delivered. Read more ...

Complications in Third Stage of Labour

Postpartum Haemorrhage(PPH)

Postpartum haemorrhage is defined as excessive bleeding occurring at any time from the birth of the baby upto 6 weeks after delivery in a woman. While some amount of bleeding is normal after childbirth, it is said to be PPH when the amount of bleeding amounts to a degree affecting the woman's general condition. Read more ...

Retained Placenta

The placenta is said to be retained when it is not expelled from the uterus even 30 minutes after the delivery of the baby. Normally, the placenta separates spontaneously from the uterine wall. If it fails to do so, management procedures like manual removal of the placenta or cord tractions may become necessary to remove it. Read more ...

Maternal Complications

The mother may suffer various complications during childbirth.

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