The medical term that refers to a difficult labor and delivery is dystocia. This is the relationship between the presenting part of the baby the head, shoulder, buttocks, or feet and two parts of the mother's pelvis called the ischial spines. Normally the ischial spines are the narrowest part of the pelvis. They are a natural measuring point for the delivery progress.
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What do we mean by a difficult-childbirth?
A difficult birth is one where you have suffered distress as a result of your birthing experience. It may be that you suffered a physical trauma which may have left you with physical problems, such as an infection, piles or urine leakage. These are in themselves distressing and you can find information that may be helpful in our Postnatal health area.
But a difficult birth is not always linked to a dramatic birth event. For many mothers2 it is feelings of powerlessness, lack of control, unhelpful staff attitudes, loss of dignity, lack of support, lack of consent and not being listened to that leave emotional scars2 after childbirth. They feel let down by their carers2 and disappointed with those around them - and often with themselves - for not being able to influence events in the way they wished.
What are the effects?
It's difficult to say exactly what the effects of a difficult birth are as they vary from individual to individual. You are unique and the way you cope with what has happened to you will be unique, too. The list below is not a happy list and, if you recognise any of these things in yourself, it is really important that you seek help from your GP or midwife.
Some mums describe having the following problems after a difficult birth: Revisiting images of labour, Poor self image, Difficulty in your relationship with your partner, Lack of libido, Not wanting physical contact of any kind, Lack of instinct with your baby, Delayed bonding with your baby, Guilt, Isolation/loneliness, Postnatal depression
These feelings may be so deeply felt that they result in post traumatic stress disorder.
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