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5 Most Common Labor Complications

5 Most Common Labor Complications

Even though you might have had a normal pregnancy, and you are well prepared for labor, there is always a big possibility that something might go wrong, specially after the previous abortion (Read about: Surgical Abortion). Learn about the most common labor complications…

Most Common Delivery and Labor Complications

Slow progression of labor – the progression of labor is constantly monitored from your doctor or midwife by checking how much the cervix is opened or how far the baby has progressed. During labor, it can occur that the opening of the cervix is lower than normally, the contractions have slowed down (Read also: Braxton-Hicks Contractions) or even totally stopped . If this occurs there are some possible things that can make the labor process faster. You can try changing the position into one you might feel more comfortable, you can also try walking around as it is known that movement encourages the contractions and helps the baby move further down the birth canal (Learn also: What Causes Your Water to Break?). If these little things also don’t help there is always the possibility of induced labor with various medications, like Syntocinon.

Retained placenta – in some cases the placenta is not extracted from the uterus, so your doctor needs to remove it to reduce this kind of labor complications.

Complications in a Multiples Pregnancy

Multiple Pregnancy – when there is more than one baby, it is normal for the pregnancy to last shorter, leading to preterm birth. Usually multiple pregnancies don’t pass more than 37 weeks. If you and your doctor decide to deliver these babies by vaginal birth (Learn also: Assisted Birth), there is always the possibility that after the first baby is born, the second baby presents into an unusual position, so the doctor who is delivering you needs to maneuver the second twin into the right position to reduce labor complications. Keep in mind that babies who are born pre-term usually require some assistance for the first couple of days or weeks after the delivery.

Position of Baby During Labor

Unusual position of the baby – in many cases the baby doesn’t present as it should into the birth canal with his/her head. Instead, it can present with the feet or bottom first. This is known as breech position. If this occurs, you and your doctor will decide how is more safe for you to deliver the baby. C-section is the only solution in many cases. However, there is also the possibility of a procedure called “cephalic external version” during which your doctor will slowly try to rotate the baby by placing their hands on your abdomen. This procedure has its own risks for labor complications, as during this procedure it is possible to tangle the cord or even to separate the placenta from the uterus wall. The procedure is performed around 36 weeks, always monitoring the baby, cord and placenta. In cases that something goes wrong, an emergency C-Section is necessary to deliver the baby on time.

Except the breech position, the posterior position is also possible. Immediately this means longer labor and delivery, followed by back pain and discomfort. Sometimes in posterior position, your doctor needs to assist the birth of your baby with the help of forceps or vacuum pumps.

Postpartum Hemorrhage Treatment & Management

Postpartum hemorrhage – it is normal to lose some blood during and after the delivery of the baby. However postpartum hemorrhage is an excessive loss of blood after the baby is born (Learn also: Bleeding After Sexual Intercourse). Luckily it is a rare condition in obstetrics. There are two types of postpartum hemorrhage: primary hemorrhage which occurs within the first 24 hours after the delivery, and secondary hemorrhage which occurs up to six weeks after the delivery. The causes of postpartum hemorrhage usually include: endometriosis, retained placenta or uterine atony. In order to prevent labor complications like this you will usually get an injection of Syntocinon which stimulates uterine contractions and helps extract the placenta out of the uterus.

What Causes Your Water to Break?

What Causes Your Water to Break (1)

As you are nearing the end of the pregnancy you probably wonder what causes your water to break and how it will happen. Once the water brakes, the labor has started, the contractions will appear soon and the baby is on its way.

What Makes Your Water Break When You Are Pregnant?

The role of the amniotic fluid is to protect your baby during pregnancy, as it grows surrounded by this fluid inside of the amniotic sac. The amniotic fluid starts to create after the second week of pregnancy. It plays the role of a cushion for the baby during its development inside of the uterus. However, leakage of amniotic fluid in small amounts is considered normal during pregnancy.

Your body knows when there is the time for your water to break and for the labor to start. It is something totally normal and it triggers a serious of events that will finally cause the rupture of the membranes, releasing the amniotic fluid and starting of the labor.

Usually as the time of labor approaches, the baby moves naturally toward the birth canal pressuring against your pelvis, making the water to break. When the water breaks the woman feels a rush of warm liquid, due to the pressure of your baby that has caused your water to break.

What Happens If Your Water Breaks Too Early?

Keep in mind, than sometimes the water can break before it is the time for the baby to be delivers. In cases when the water to break happens before the 34th week of pregnancy, immediate medical help is necessary as it is a serious condition for both the mother and the baby. Medications of corticoids are usually given to the pregnant women in order to help grow the baby’s lungs faster. The amount of amniotic fluid that remains inside of the amniotic sac is monitored closely and sometimes C-Section is performed in order to deliver the baby pre term. If the water brakes between the 34th and 37th week, the situation is less serious, as the baby is almost mature, even though the lungs are still behind in development when compared to other organs. However, the baby has a great chance to survive and immediate medical help is also necessary in this case to. When the water brakes after the 37th week of pregnancy it is considered that the labor has started. However, the time between the water brake and the delivery of the baby should not be longer than 24 hours as it can lead to complications (Read also: Assisted Birth).

What Causes the Water to Break before Time?

As mentioned before the water can break even before it’s the time of delivery. Some of the reasons for early water brakes include:

  • Infections of the vagina (Read also: Vaginitis), cervix or uterus
  • Infections of the bladder or/and kidneys
  • Multiple baby pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Early activation of membrane enzymes, etc.

The amount of the amniotic fluid differs from one women to another. Some woman have just a little damp, while for other the amount of the discharge from the vagina could be significant for the water to break. In many cases, the water can break even at night during sleep. Shortly after the water brakes, the contractions will start, if they have not started already.



Amniotic Fluid – What Does It Look Like?

Amniotic Fluid - What Does It Look Like

Amniotic fluid is the protective fluid that is found in the amniotic sac of a pregnant woman. The fetus grows inside of this fluid. This fluid plays an important role during the intrauterine growth of the developing fetus. The amniotic fluid protects the fetus from getting jammed within the uterine walls, working as a cushioning substance. It also plays a great role in absorbing electrolytes, lipids, proteins, phospholipids and carbohydrates, which are very important and essential for the growing baby.

Amniotic Fluid Development

This fluid starts to develop during the second week of the pregnancy. It is normal to have frequent vaginal discharge of this fluid during pregnancy, as amniotic fluid stays within the body.

A normal amniotic fluid has no color, but sometimes it is in slight yellow color. It has no odor and can smell like sweet. Sometimes, during the vaginal discharge the fluid can contain mucus spots or blood spots.

During pregnancy, it is normal to have vaginal discharges, even though it is kind of hard to distinguish the nature of this discharge. It can be urine, amniotic fluid or other fluids.

If it is urine, it is more likely to occur during the second trimester and especially during the third trimester of pregnancy, as the growing fetus puts pressure into the urinary bladder. It is normal to leak small amounts of urine while coughing, sneezing or laughing.  The color of urine will be clear yellow or a little bit darker, smelling something similar to ammonium.

If it is amniotic fluid, it will follow the urination. The amount of amniotic fluid leaked should be monitored as it could be something serious, which requires medical help.

Vaginal discharge of any other nature will be thicker than the urine and amniotic fluid. It can be white or yellow in color, usually without an odor. However, when there is an infection causing the vaginal discharge there could be a bad smell and yellowish to greenish color of the discharge.

Reasons That Lead to a Leak of the Amniotic Fluid

Many things can be the cause of amniotic fluid leakage. Regardless, of the cause it should be monitored as it could be something serious. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Vaginal or cervical infections
  • Infections caused due to sexually transmitted diseases
  • Stress or any other psychological problems
  • Premature amniotic rupture history
  • Injury or damage on amniotic bag
  • Defective amniotic bag, etc.

Leakage of the Amniotic Fluid

If the leakage of the amniotic fluid occurs before the 34th week of pregnancy, medical help is necessary. Your health care provider will give you immediately steroidal medicines in order to enhance the growth and development of the baby’s lungs. Your health care provider will monitor the amount of the amniotic fluid remained within the sac and the condition of the baby. If it is necessary, C-section is performed in order to deliver the baby pre term.

If the leakage of the fluid occurs between the 34th and 37th week, the situation is a little less risky as the baby is more developed. However, immediate medical help is necessary and sometimes the birth is induced. Any delay may lead to complications related to delivery (Learn also: Assisted Birth). There is also the risk of infections that can be harmful for the mother and for the baby.

If the leakage of the amniotic fluid occurred when the pregnancy is on term, usually the labor starts on its own, or it is induced as the baby needs to be delivered within 24 hours after water break.


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This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not medical advice.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.