Failure To Progress During Labour – Watch How It Can Happen

Failure To Progress During Labour - Watch How It Can Happen

Failure To Progress

There are simply no words needed to explain what you’re about to see — a video from Birth POV demonstrating how easy it is to end up with a diagnosis of failure to progress when giving birth in a hospital.

But, just in case you weren’t aware: privacy and safety is critical when you are giving birth.

Many birth advocates and professionals tell us that giving birth optimally requires a similar environment to making love: dimmed lights, quiet, no interruptions, no strangers and privacy. Just like a mother cat will hide in a quiet, dark place to give birth to her kittens, this is how the birth process — more specifically birth hormones — work optimally.

While many women believe a hospital is the best place to achieve safety, it certainly isn’t much of a place for privacy, familiar faces or interruptions. Hence a smooth, optimal birthing process can be hard to achieve.

In the article Undisturbed Labour – Why You Should Aim For One, BellyBelly’s birth contributor, Sam McCulloch explains:

“In the wild, if a labouring mammal is threatened during the first stage of labour, adrenaline is released, stopping labour so the mother is able to get away to a safe place. Humans have exactly the same stress response as other mammals. The big difference is most of us give birth under bright lights, observation and constant disruption. Our brains cannot differentiate between a real threat (sabre tooth tiger) and an imagined one (noisy staff), so they begin to initiate the process of ‘fight or flight’. Stress hormones are released. Labour begins to falter and doesn’t progress.”

The diagnosis of failure to progress pins the blame of failure on the mother’s body, when it’s more often a case of failure to wait – and failure to provide an optimal birthing environment.

Dim lights, quiet, no strangers, no distractions and no interruptions are all in short supply in a hospital.

As you watch the clip below, it will provide you with a very simple explanation of why failure to progress is not as simple as a mother’s body being ‘broken’. In fact, even some doctors admit that failure to progress is vastly overdiagnosed.

It’s time women demanded better care, which will result in much better outcomes for birth and beyond.

Don’t forget to share the message with your friends – when more birthing women – paying customers – start demanding better, only then will things start getting better.

Recommended Reading: Also check out BellyBelly’s article, 8 Natural and Effective Tips For A ‘Stalled’ Labour and If Making Love Was Treated Like Birth – A Sadly Hilarious Video.


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Kelly Winder is the creator of, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


  1. It always surprises me when we point out that it is the system that needs to respond to women’s needs in pregnancy and birth and then say that women “need to demand” a change.
    Why do we still blame women for the situation as if they really demanded the change it would happen?

    1. Unfortunately the system wont volunteer to change. It’s not blaming women, but calling them to action. It’s why I created BellyBelly 12 years ago, I wasn’t happy with what was going on, so I am calling women and men to get informed, educated and let’s make change. Waiting for it to happen will result in many generations of this.

  2. Women absolutely need to demand change. I had babies at home during a volatile time in history when children were removed from homes for just such a thing. Today women can safely choose (in most areas) to have a home birth and brag about it before hand. I have been telling women for years to ask their health insurance companies for a breast pump before purchasing and today many companies are routinely offering them to their customers as a matter of policy. As women begin to demand certain things from their doctors, the doctors will really have no choice but to come around to our way of thinking and give us what we want/need for “OUR” birth experience!

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