Failure to Progress in Labor Is Like Trying to Poop in Public (VIDEO)

pregnant womanLabor can last for days. Yeah, days. Even painful labor. There's a reason why when you announce, "Yeah, I was in labor for eight hours!" people roll their eyes or congratulate you on a SHORT birth. Know what else can take days? Induction. Seriously, it can. There's also such a thing as a failed induction where you get taken off the drugs and sent home because your body just isn't ready.

However, more often than not, and increasing in frequency, women get put on an imaginary timer from the minute they step off the elevator onto the labor and delivery floor, and many a mom has her water broken, inductions, or even c-sections due to "Failure to Progress."

Thing is, your body is a little smarter than you think, and often hospitals are the least likely place your body is going to want to give birth ... especially if you think about opening that vaginal sphincter the same way you'd try to relax to poop.


You know what trying to poop is like when there are kids banging on the door, coming in and making demands: "No, I DO NOT know where your Gameboy is and I don't care! I'm trying to go to the bathroom here! Wait two minutes!" Or if you are out in public and feel hurried and rushed and ... well, that equals failure to progress in the poop department too.

The point is, when you're trying to relax and go to the bathroom, it can become really difficult, or even impossible, when you can't relax or get privacy. In fact, as Ina May says in her Sphincter Law:

Your sphincters (including your excretory, cervical, and vaginal) are responsible for releasing your baby into this world. If your sphincters are tight you may not progress, you will probably experience more pain, and you may be given pitocin to help force those sphincters open.

Excretory, cervical, and vaginal sphincters function best in an atmosphere of intimacy and privacy. For example, a bathroom with a locking door or a bedroom where interruption is unlikely or impossible.

Also, these sphincters can tense up, close up, shut down, or in general just not give you what you want if the brain controlling them is nervous, upset, scared, humiliated, or feeling exceptionally self-conscious. They also don't really respond well to commands like "RELAX!" or "PUSH!" We even know that forcing them can cause tears, hemorrhoids ... it's just not good news.

Future of Birth has a hilarious video which says what I'm babbling about so much more easily:

So a delivery room full of complete strangers, walking in when you're trying to relax, sticking their fingers constantly in your vagina, looking down there, making demands of you, telling you you need to hurry up ... it CAN create "Failure to Progress," but as you can imagine, it's more like performance anxiety. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with your body, nor do you need medications or assistance. You just need privacy. In fact, it's one of the leading reasons women choose home births!

Did you feel pressured by the presence of strangers? Do you think a quiet environment without pressure will help you birth more easily?


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