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What is Emotional Dystocia During Labor>

Emotional dystocia is emotional stress during labor that causes a woman's catecholamines to rise, which reduce the circulation in the placenta and uterus, resulting is contractions that can be inefficient. As a Labor Doula, partner or birth companion, you can look for these outward signs from mama, to determine if she is experiencing high levels of emotional stress during labor:

  • Does she exhibit signs of anxiety or fear during or between contractions?
  • Is mama strongly responding to mild contractions?
  • During the later stages of labor does she not move into Labor Land, instead staying active and alert, making sure she knows exactly what is going on?
Try to talk with mama about her concerns, always validating her fears. Try offering her another way of looking at the situation. It may be all she needs is a little more information about what is happening or reassurance that everything that is happening is a normal part of the birth process. If you know her history, she may be remembering abuse from her past, which often comes up during labor.

Never assume you know the reason mama is upset and concerned. Always be honest and listen to what she is saying. As a labor companion, your responsibility is to help her through her birth and offer her what she needs to become a new mom.

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