Failure to Progress

Failure to Progress

(Unsatisfactory Progress of Labor)

Definition

Failure to progress (FTP) happens when labor slows and delays delivery of the baby. The cervix may not thin and open as it should. This makes it hard for the baby to move down the birth canal.

Fetal Descent Stations (Birth Presentation)

exh40424_96472_1
The progress of the baby can be progressively measured.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause of FTP may be linked to:

  • An unborn baby that cannot fit through the mother's pelvis
  • A baby that is not in the right position
  • Contractions that are weak or do not happen often enough

Sometimes, the cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Starting labor with medicine or other methods
  • Having an epidural—pain medicine placed into the spine
  • Problems with the fluid sac around the baby
  • Water that breaks before labor starts—premature rupture of membranes
  • A large baby
  • Prior FTP
  • Diabetes
  • Fertility treatments

Symptoms

Once labor has started, the baby should move down the birth canal at a certain pace. The baby's progress is either slower than this pace or it or stops.

Diagnosis

The doctor will check:

  • The width of the cervix
  • The size of the baby
  • The position of the baby

A monitor may be used to find out how the uterus is contracting. It can count how many contractions there are, how long they last, how strong they are, and how much time goes by between each one.

This is enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to start labor or to speed it up. Options are:

  • Using a special tool to break the water
  • Giving the mother a medicine called oxytocin to make the uterus contract

FTP can cause stress on the mother and baby. This can lead to problems. The doctor may choose to deliver the baby by:

  • Using a vacuum or forceps to help the baby out of the birth canal
  • Cesarean section

Prevention

There are no known ways to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
https://www.acog.org
Office on Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
https://www.womenshealth.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
https://sogc.org
Women's Health Matters—Women's College Hospital
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References:

Assisted vaginal delivery (instrumental delivery). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/assisted-vaginal-delivery-instrumental-delivery. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Labor dystocia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/labor-dystocia. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Labor induction. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/labor-induction. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Protracted labor. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/abnormalities-and-complications-of-labor-and-delivery/protracted-labor. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN
Last Updated: 9/13/2021

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Home |Terms and Conditions |Concerned About Privacy? |Accessibility |Careers |For Employers and Medical Plan Providers

You may also be looking for: CVS/pharmacy | MinuteClinic | Specialty Pharmacy | SilverScript | Accordant