By | June 10, 2022

Labor weakness is the weak or unproductive onset of labor during childbirth, or none at all. In the so-called hypo- or normotonic contractions, the state of tension of the uterine contractions (myometrium) is normal, but the contractions are too weak, too short or too low in frequency. The cervix stays closed longer than intended. Hypertonic labor weakness is when the contractions are uncoordinated, even though the tension, frequency, duration, and strength of labor are normal or even increased.

What is labour?

Contractions can be deficient from the start of labor (primary labour ) or they can only subside as the labor progresses (secondary labour). A brief contraction weakness when the amniotic sac ruptures or due to the initiation of a local anesthetic in the area of ​​the spinal cord of the woman giving birth is relatively irrelevant for the birth process. For hypophosphatemia overview, please visit

The primary weakness of contractions occurs when the excitation of the parturient in the myometrium is locally misdirected or the abdominal or uterine muscles are torn. Other possible causes can be taking medication during pregnancy or related metabolic disorders.

Quite rarely, the baby’s pressure on the cervix and vagina is less than usual, and as a result not enough oxytocin (“labor hormone”) is released. This can happen, for example, if the child is abnormally in the breech position.

Even if the baby is not waiting head first in the birth canal, but is in a transverse position, the cervix is ​​not being stimulated enough and labor activity is thus hindered. It is not uncommon for the cervix to be just two or three centimeters open shortly before delivery.


Secondary labor weakness is evident when the uterus is overstretched (large child, multiple births, multiple deliveries in quick succession) or an excess of amniotic fluid. An excessively long birth or a woman’s pelvis that is too small can also be responsible for this.

Emptying the bladder and thus the relative disinhibition of the uterus often helps against the secondary weakness of labour. A sometimes hidden cause of lack of labor strength could be overstimulation of the uterus. This can be conjured up by drugs that actually promote labour, painkillers or narcotic substances.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

If the due date has also been significantly exceeded due to labour, the mother and the unborn child are monitored thoroughly and regularly with the help of a CTG (cardiotocography, “labor recorder”). This continuously measures the child’s heartbeat and the mother’s contractions.

Ultrasound examinations are also possible. Transferring the baby from the beginning of the 43rd week of pregnancy is not immediately dangerous, but it does involve some risks for mother and child. As soon as dangers are identified, childbirth is usually initiated. This often happens with labor-inducing agents that are administered via an infusion or vaginal gel. In addition, the administration of the labor hormone oxytocin is possible.

Diagnosis & course of disease

In cases of secondary labour, however, psychological reasons on the part of the expectant mother can also play a role. Temporary inactivity is sometimes a way for the heavily pregnant woman to have a little rest and get some air. The atmosphere in the hospital delivery room, the hustle and bustle and hospital routine also occasionally contribute to the cessation of labour.

The pregnant woman also has various options for gently reactivating her own contractions. These range from emptying the bladder (possibly by catheter ), to going for a short walk or light exercise in fresh air, to a warm bath. Depending on the situation and the woman’s state of exhaustion, a light massage, a hot-water bottle, a few relaxation exercises, acupuncture, a small meal and plenty of fluids can also help.


Normally, a weak contraction does not result in any major complications. For the mother-to-be, however, the additional weeks of pregnancy represent a significant burden, both physically and psychologically, because missed contractions repeatedly cause anxiety. Especially if the contractions do not occur well beyond the 40th week of pregnancy or are only very weak, this can be a burden for the woman concerned.

Labor weakness has no effect on the child, insofar as a natural birth can ultimately be induced. Treating incontinence in labor carries certain risks. Occasionally, the home remedies used to speed up the birth process cause problems. Essential oils can irritate the intimate area, while ginger or clove oil can sometimes cause allergic reactions.

The administration of labor hormones can throw the body’s processes out of balance and thus have the opposite effect – the contractions start even later. Supporting means such as forceps or a suction cup always carry the risk of injuring the mother or child. A caesarean section is also associated with the risk of injuries, but wound healing disorders or infections can also occur.

When should you go to the doctor?

Women who discover they may be pregnant should always consult a doctor. The course of the pregnancy and the later childbirth must be monitored and planned in good time. In addition, the expectant mother should inform herself in good time and comprehensively about the upcoming changes and possible developments during pregnancy. In particular, the physical development process is to be found out so that surprises can be avoided and in the event of any abnormalities, the doctor in charge can be consulted immediately. In the final phase of pregnancy, labor usually begins around the time of the expected due date. It should therefore be clarified and planned in good time where the birth is to take place.

When giving birth, it is strongly recommended to use trained medical staff. If there are any peculiarities during the birth process, they can act immediately. When the first contractions begin, you should go to the nearest hospital or birth center. Alternatively, the midwife should be informed if a home birth is planned. During the birth process, the labor activity is monitored by the obstetricians. Their instructions should be followed to minimize possible complications. A doctor should also be consulted in the event of sudden pain in the abdomen or the absence of menstruation for several months.

Treatment & Therapy

For the massage, for example, ten milliliters of almond oil are dribbled together with two teaspoons each of verbena oil, ginger oil , clove oil and cinnamon oil. When the belly of the pregnant woman has been moistened with warm water by herself or her partner, the fine oil mixture is gently massaged in. Its components all stimulate the musculature of the uterus and thus promote labor pains.

Essential oils and herbs (cinnamon, cloves, ginger) can be added to the warm bath according to personal taste. However, one person should always be nearby during this warm bath, because depending on the state of the circulatory system, the rhythm of contractions can increase very quickly on this occasion. If the pregnant woman is still at home, sexual intercourse is also a suitable means of stimulating contractions, provided that it is possible and desirable in the specific situation.

Sexual arousal is said to be able to release the labor hormone oxytocin. In addition, male semen contains tissue hormones that are also used in drug-based birth induction. They can enlarge the cervix and relax the uterine muscles. A tea with labor-inducing ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger and verbena, drunk lukewarm throughout the day, has similar effects. Even a few cups of raspberry leaf tea serve this purpose in a very healthy and uplifting way.

If the contractions still don’t get going and drugs don’t help as desired, supportive devices such as a suction cup or forceps may be used at a crucial stage of the birth. The doctors and midwives will then, with the mother’s consent, have to decide at the right time about a Caesarean section if necessary.


Since the entire birth process is individual from woman to woman and labor weakness occurs sporadically, it cannot be prevented.


Labor weakness is a complication that occurs only during childbirth. Otherwise it does not lead to any impairments. Therefore, no special aftercare measures are usually necessary due to this birth complication. Irrespective of the weakness of the contractions, however, some examinations after the birth are generally recommended.

In a few cases, this birth complication is what is known as primary labour, which can have genetic causes. For the women affected, it can be quite helpful to have further follow-up examinations carried out by the gynecologist. This is particularly advisable if the patient has had contractions at previous births or in close relatives.

However, such examinations only make sense if there are further pregnancies or if these are planned. Labor weakness does not need to be assessed immediately after birth. This can also be done as part of further prenatal care. A more detailed investigation of the causes of labour-incontinence is generally helpful, so that the affected women and the gynecologist can prepare themselves for future births and react to them in good time. Otherwise, however, primary weakness in labor does not cause any symptoms and does not need to be treated.

You can do that yourself

If the contractions are present, the affected person must definitely seek medical treatment. Self-help measures alone are usually not effective. However, there are some methods that can gently stimulate labor and ease the situation.

The first measure, which can lead to improvement in many cases, is emptying the bladder. Other self-help methods can be used in consultation with the treating doctor or midwife. Exercise often has a beneficial effect on labour. Short walks accompanied by another person are recommended. In some cases, gentle yoga exercises can help overcome labour. In general, it is recommended to assume an upright position. A bath with warm water can also have a positive effect on contractions. Additional light massages and acupressure are helpful.

If you are very exhausted, it is advisable to sleep for a while. In addition, the affected women should eat something. Glucose also has a supporting effect. Adequate fluid intake should be ensured. The women concerned should try to relax as much as possible. Certain breathing techniques can help with this.