Chelsea Bootsman

Birth Doula, Birth Photographer,

Family Photographer, Videographer



Serving Red Deer and Central Alberta

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©2019 Chelsea Bootsman Doula.Photo.Film

May 1, 2018

Stalled/Slow Labour or Failure to Progress


If there are any terms here that you don’t understand, just look it up on the internet, or ask an experienced doula or health care provider.

Stalled labour is when contractions completely slow down or stop altogether.

Slow progress is when you enter active labour, but active labour doesn’t progress as quickly as your health care providers would like.

Failure to progress is when you reach a certain point and stop dilating or progressing at all, but continue to have regular contractions. You may often hear these terms and assume that your body “failed” you. However, there is usually a simple cause accompanied with these terms, that you may not think of.

Some of the causes for stalled labour, slow progress, or failure to progress, can include;

  • Fear

  • Sensory overload

  • Feeling unsupported

  • Fetal mal-positioning

  • Tight pelvic muscles and ligaments

  • Baby isn’t engaging into the pelvis

  • Tired uterus

Ways to overcome these, can include;

  • Raising your natural oxytocin levels.

  • Working through your fears, writing them down and tearing up the paper, can help.

  • Putting on a blindfold and headphones to create sensory deprivation for better focus.

  • Asking unnecessary bodies to step out of the delivery room.

  • Loosen up tight muscles; Rebozo sifting, inversion, side lying release, massage, pelvic tilts, bath or shower, psoas release, “shake the apple tree”.

  • Encourage better fetal positioning. Hip rotations on birth ball, rebozo sifting, inversion, side lying release, pelvic tilts.

  • Pelvic openers. Hip squeezes, squatting, kneeling with ankles wider than knees, Walcher’s position, sitting on a toilet or birthing stool.

  • Having a little rest or something to eat, so that you can regain a bit of energy.

New Posts
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    There are many ways to define contractions, and everyone experiences the intensity differently, but one thing that makes each persons journey through labour unique, is how they work through those contractions. Some people pray through them. Some do hypnotism. And some people prefer to go deep within themselves to just focus on surrendering to their body. Whatever you choose, remember that to be in control, you need to give up control... Relax your shoulders. Relax your jaw. Relax your bottom. Close your eyes. ....And just breathe. Remember; You are safe. You are strong. You are capable. If there comes a time in your labour where you are too exhausted to work, or the intensity is too much for you, do not feel bad about asking for a bit of pain relief. Sometimes, all your body needs is a little rest, in order for your muscles to relax, which then allows the contractions to push the baby down further, more efficiently. If you don’t have the option for pain medications, or haven’t allowed it to be an option for yourself, then there are a few ways to practice working through the “surges”; One exercise , is to put a few ice cubes in a bag, and hold that bag in your hand for 1 minute, then you rest for a minute. You repeat this pattern, until you have learned to breath and focus while holding the ice. A much nicer exercise , is to stretch out a tight muscle (usually one that you struggle with already), and hold that stretch for one minute. Then repeat the stretch on the other side, for another minute. While you hold these stretches, close your eyes, and focus on breathing while you feel the muscle release.
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    Labour is broken up into phases and stages. Every experience is different and varies in length. 1st stage - 0-10 cm Early phase - 0-3 cm. This is the start of labour. It’s generally the longest phase, but also the easiest. This is a great time to get a nap in (if you can), bake a cake, clean your house, go for a walk, or pack your hospital bag. Active labour - 4-7 cm. During active labour, things are starting to get more intense. You won’t be talking as much through contractions, you might be getting tired, and you’ll need to focus on relaxing your muscles during contractions. Transition - 7-10 cm. This is generally the quickest phase. You might feel like giving up, you’ll feel shaky, and you might be throwing up, but you are so close to the finish line! Just keep focusing on what you need to be doing and shut out any distractions. Let those surges push baby down further. 2nd stage - 10 cm to birth Pushing - this can last anywhere from 1 minute to 3 hours. Some women view pushing as a great relief, because instead of just trying to get through the contraction,  you are now able to actively work with the contraction. The flip side to that, is that although you don’t feel the contraction as much when you push, you will feel more pressure on your bottom, especially as baby’s head starts to crown. At this point, you will be told to slow down your pushing and breathe the baby down, in order to reduce your risk of tearing. Once the head is out, it’s then best to wait for the next contraction to push the body out. Baby exits the womb with umbilical cord still attached and a surge of oxytocin will help the placenta to start to detach from the wall of the uterus. 3rd stage - delivery of the placenta The placenta is generally delivered between 10-20 minutes after the delivery, but can sometimes take longer. To encourage the placenta to detach, and for your uterus to continue to contract down in size, you will either be given a shot of synthetic oxytocin to speed up the process, or your health care provider will wait for your natural oxytocin to do the work. Attaching babe to the breast can help with this oxytocin release. If you happened to tear during pushing, you will be given some freezing and will be stitched up after the placenta has been delivered.
  • Admin
    May 1, 2018

    If your water has broken before labour has begun, you need to decide how long you are willing to go with your water broken (the 24 hour “doctor limit”, or days..). If labour hasn’t begun within a few hours, you can try a warm bath, nipple stimulation (oxytocin), going for a walk, or do a few stretches to help spur on labour, or drop baby a bit lower into your pelvis. If you go into labour naturally, starting with mild contractions, time them to see how long they last and how far apart they are. You could try sitting in a bath - just note that this could either ease them off or make them come on stronger. Try going for a long walk, climbing stairs, hip rotations on a birth ball, squatting, or dancing . If you’ve been up for a while, or haven’t had much sleep, this would also be a great time to get as much rest as you can . Then, once you are well rested, you will feel much more prepared for the work ahead! *Remember that natural oxytocin is the best hormone for labour , so anything to release oxytocin, can do your body (and mind) wonders; watching a funny movie, intercourse (**no intercourse if your water has broken**), pumping/nipple stimulation, dancing , etc. What did you do in early labour? Share your thoughts below!