Precipitate Labour: Causes, Management and Complications

Most women especially primigravidae do not want to waste time in labour and experience that excruciating pain. They want everything speedily so that they could be free and have their baby. However, they fail to know that labour associated with high speed has many risk factors to both mother and baby.

Hence, in this article, we shall discuss, its causes, management and complications.

What is precipitate labour?

Precipitate labour is a labour that lasts for fewer than three (3) hours. This trial of labour often makes women give birth in the church, market place and so on. Those who thought were smart and started rushing to hospital, would be born on their way or at the hospital gate. Such babies are described as “born before arrival”.

Risk factors for precipitate labour

  • Multiparity
  • Large pelvis
  • Previous precipitate labour
  • Small fetus in a favourable position

Effects of precipitate labour on the mother

  • Increased risk of uterine rupture from intense uterine contractions.
  • Loss of coping abilities
  • Lacerations (cervical. Vagina and perineal) due to rapid, descent and birth
  • Post-partum haemorrhage due to undetected laceration and inadequate uterine contractions after birth.

Feto-neonatal implications

  • Fetal distress or hypoxia due to utero placental circulation from intensive uterine contractions
  • Cerebral trauma due to rapid descent through the cervix and giving birth in an unconducive place e.g. toilet seat etc…

How to manage a woman with precipitate labour

A woman with needs close monitoring and preparations for emergency delivery to ensure safe outcome for mother and baby. Proper history taking will help the nurse educate the woman on proper birth plan to come to facility as early as possible.

  • During labour, the midwife’s observations of factors like
  • Accelerated cervical dilation and fetal descent
  • Intense uterine contractions with little relaxation in between contractions.

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