Sometimes labor is slow and pokey or it starts and stops multiple times with prodromal labor. I occasionally see this in my practice. If baby and birthing parent are fine, water is intact and there are no risk factors the best thing to do is just roll with it.
When you are in the middle of a slow labor the end can sometimes feel a long way away. Often you’re impatient to have baby in your arms or be done. Sometimes labor has happened overnight and slowed again, now you are feeling tired and feeling worn out. Rest while you can, if you can manage the cycle of rest-hydrate-contractions you can last it out. As long as your water isn’t broken (and you should check with your provider if it is) and there are no other concerns you can wait it out. Our bodies are way wiser than our brains. Sometimes what you need in labor is to honor that, eat a good meal, stay hydrated and rest when you can. It’s a good idea to pace yourself so that when active labor does kick back in you have the endurance to keep going.
Something to consider is if there are any emotional blockages. Sometimes things you’ve been worried about through your pregnancy need to be processed during labor. Sometimes worries come up in labor you’ve not had during pregnancy that may need to be worked out. Talk these things out with your partner, midwife, doula or other support person. Voicing those concerns can be enough to help your body go into labor again.
Occasionally babies, along with your body, are trying to get into an ideal position for birth. Bodies are really smart and know how to best birth babies, sometimes contractions come along like this to help move baby’s position into a better spot. We need to allow ourselves that time to do those finite changes that allow a smoother birth when labor kicks in again. Using techniques such as Spinning Babies, chiropractic, Rebozo and certain movements of your body help encourage babies into a good position for birth. Check in with your care provider so she can offer tips and advice for ideal positioning of your baby.
Sometimes labor is just like this and we don’t really know why. Resting while you can, eating a good meal and staying hydrated will help you manage a slow or on/off again labor. If there are other children in the home sending them out of the house can be helpful. Going for a walk can help bring contractions closer together as can intimacy with your partner. Touches and kissing help naturally raise oxytocin levels which helps bring contractions closer together. Overall though, taking care of yourself, surrendering to the process and allowing labor to unfold as it will is the best way to manage these types of labor for most people. Birth is a process of rest, surrender, work and strength. Striking a balance between those things can help you to last through it.