Labor Storm

By | June 10, 2022

Labor storms are hyperactive contractions that correspond to too strong or too short consecutive contractions. This phenomenon can cause uterine rupture and put the fetus at risk. If an incision is not induced, rescue medication is required to reduce contractions.

What is a labor storm?

Labor storm is hyperactive labor activity. The contractions occur either with an amplitude of more than 50 mmHg or with normal amplitude but only closely spaced. In this case, that means more than 5 contractions in a ten-minute period. The basal tonus is in the normal range in both cases. Labor storm is a complication that comes with risks. For what is the definition of knee injuries, please visit

For example, a rupture of the uterus can occur as part of the appearance. An undersupply of the unborn child with oxygen can also occur. Therefore, obstetrics must respond to a labor storm with high reaction speed. The cause of the phenomenon is, among other things, incorrect dosages of certain medications. Wrong position or the shape of the embryo are also to be considered as causes of a labor storm.


When there is a mismatch between the unborn child and the mother’s pelvis, it can cause a storm of labour. This statement applies in particular to a macrosomal fetus that has a relatively high birth weight. However, even a fetus of normal weight and size can cause labor storms in an extremely petite woman with a narrow pelvis.

Just as often, an abnormal posture or position of the unborn child is the cause of a labor storm. Cervical dystocia are also sometimes possible causes. Sometimes the rush of labor is caused by overdosing on oxytocin. This substance is also produced in the organism. So if the endogenous oxytocin level is too high, it can also result in a storm of labour. The endogenous oxytocin level rises, especially in multiple pregnancies, since the uterus is greatly stretched. Similarly, amniotomies sometimes result in abnormally high levels of oxztocin.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

During the rush, the expectant mother experiences contractions either too quickly or abnormally intensely. She usually complains of severe pain. When the Bandl fissure rises in the uterus during labor storm and reaches the umbilicus, tenderness is usually predominant in the lower segment of the uterus. If this occurs, there may be a risk of uterine rupture. Persistent pain during the pause in labor also indicates a ruptured uterus.

The rupture of the uterus is not the only danger. The unborn child can also be at risk during a labor storm. As part of this phenomenon, the intrauterine pressure increases. This can threaten the oxygen supply to the fetus. The fetal heart rate must therefore be constantly monitored by obstetrics using cardiotocography. If the heart rate shows pathological values, a micro blood test is usually initiated.

Diagnosis & course of disease

Usually, a palpation of the uterus is enough to raise the first suspicion of a labor storm. The uterus of the pregnant woman is abnormally hard and immobile. The tocogram confirms the diagnosis by showing contractions that are too frequent or too strong. Sometimes a permanent contraction can also be seen on the tocogram. By palpating the cervix, positional anomalies can be ruled out as the cause of the contractions.

Cardiotocography of the unborn child and blood microscopy are important additional tests to ensure fetal integrity. The course of a labor storm is generally favorable these days and is sometimes determined by the speed of reaction and the experience of the midwives and the attending physician.


A storm of contractions normally does not result in any major complications. However, pain and other side effects can occur. The mother-to-be usually feels very unwell, combined with sweating and cardiovascular problems. The typical pressure pain can lead to the patient cramping and no longer being able to adequately support the contractions.

There is also a risk that the Bandl fissure in the uterus will increase. When this happens, uterine rupture can occur, which is associated with life-threatening complications. A complete rupture of the uterus is also conceivable. The child is also at risk during a labor storm. If the intrauterine pressure rises too much, this can affect the oxygen supply to the child.

A lack of air supply can lead to physical and mental damage. In the worst case, the child dies as a result of a labor storm. When treating a storm of labor, the risks come from the medications prescribed. Partusisten is usually administered, which can lead to circulatory problems.

If a section birth has to take place, this is always associated with risks. The caesarean section can injure the blood vessels and muscles or the child. Scars often remain after an operation, which are occasionally associated with wound healing disorders and scar pain.

When should you go to the doctor?

In all cases, a storm of contractions is a reason to immediately go to a hospital with a maternity ward or to be taken there by an emergency transporter. The contractions are not only sometimes very painful and may need to be stopped or regulated with medication. It is also a sign of the onset of childbirth and also of possible complications.

Labor storm carries, among other things, the risk of uterine rupture and is a sign of a more complicated birth. There can be various reasons for this, most of which are mechanically caused by the fetus. These include, for example, very large children who are lying incorrectly in the uterus.

Because a labor storm involves strong contractions of the uterus, there is also a risk to the baby inside. For example, there can be a lack of oxygen as a result of bruises or constrictions in the child.

The labor storm is therefore to be attributed to the acute circumstances to be treated. As soon as the contractions are felt to be unusually heavy or even the pauses between them are felt to be painful, a doctor must be consulted urgently. More than five contractions within ten minutes is considered a sign of a labor storm.

Treatment & Therapy

During labor storms, the mother-to-be is instructed to breathe calmly so that the oxygen supply to the fetus does not deteriorate any further. Relaxation techniques are used. A warm bath can also initiate relaxation. In an emergency, antispasmodic medication is also given. The expectant mother puts herself in a knee-elbow position to reduce the pressure on the cervix.

By reducing stimulation of the cervix, contractions are reduced. If an abnormal fetal posture is causing the rush of labour, vaginal birth is not feasible. In this case, obstetrics will initiate a section birth . If the storm of contractions has another cause and a vaginal birth is feasible, the gynecologist will give the expectant mother an anesthetic in case of doubt. This epidural anesthesia reduces labor pain.

Partusisten is usually administered as an emergency medication, which keeps the uterus from violent contractions. In this way, the oxygen supply to the fetus is secured. The mother’s heart rate increases significantly as a side effect of the drug, but usually returns to normal after the drug has been eliminated. The administration of the drug is absolutely necessary in order not to endanger the unborn child any further and to promote the birth.


The labor storm can only be prevented to a certain extent, for example by preferring a section birth from the outset if there is a disproportion between the unborn child and the mother’s pelvis.


After a birth with labor storms, healing in the postpartum period has top priority. Mother and child have to recover from the dramatic events in the delivery room. Close-meshed medical checks after the birth guarantee that the uterus recedes well and that the storm of labor does not damage the female body.

Good medical follow-up is the best measure to prevent permanent physical damage. If the treating doctors could not determine the causes of the contractions during the birth, then the gynecologist should clarify this point afterwards. The mental work-up of the birth is also strongly advised.

For the health of the psyche it is necessary that the affected woman accepts and accepts the dramatic course of birth. In addition to consulting the treating gynecologist, a visit to a psychologist may also be necessary. It is particularly helpful for subsequent pregnancies if there are no physical or psychological consequences after the birth with contractions.

This is the only way to have a relaxed pregnancy again. Intensive preparation for the following birth and avoiding the causes of the labor storm enable a birth without complications. The pregnant woman can look forward to another pregnancy and childbirth with ease.

You can do that yourself

In the event of an acute storm of contractions, the affected woman must be treated by a doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, hyperactive labor can be life-threatening for both mother and child. Self-help measures alone usually do not lead to an alleviation of the symptoms. However, there are some methods that the affected woman can use to better deal with the situation.

First, the patient should try to remain as calm as possible. This usually has a positive effect on the fetus as well. During a labor storm, calm and even breathing helps. The affected woman can use certain breathing techniques. The use of certain relaxation techniques such as yoga, autogenic training or meditation is also helpful. Assuming the so-called knee-elbow position also has a soothing effect. Alternatively, the woman can take the position of the bridge. This will reduce the pressure on the cervix, which will reduce contractions.

A warm bath can also have a relaxing effect, allowing the patient to calm down. In principle, the affected person should move as little as possible until the storm of contractions loses its intensity.

Labor Storm