Dystocia (antonym eutocia) is an abnormal or difficult childbirth or labour. Approximately a fifth of human labors have dystocia. Can also be related to livestock. Dystocia may arise due to incoordinate uterine activity, abnormal fetal lie or presentation, or absolute or relative cephalopelvic disproportion. Oxytocin is commonly used to treat incoordinate uterine activity. However, pregnancies complicated by dystocia often end with assisted deliveries including forceps, ventouse or, commonly, caesarean section. Recognized risks of dystocia include fetal death, respiratory depression, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and brachial nerve damage. A prolonged interval between pregnancies, primigrad birth, and multiple birth have also been associated with increased risk for labor dystocia.
Shoulder dystocia is a specific case of dystocia whereby the anterior shoulder of the infant cannot pass below the pubic symphysis, or requires significant manipulation to pass below the pubic symphysis.
A prolonged second stage of labour is another type of tocia whereby the fetus has not been delivered within three hours after the mother's cervix has become fully dilated.
Synonyms: difficult labour, abnormal labour, difficult childbirth, abnormal childbirth, dysfunctional labour
Dystocia pertaining to birds and reptiles is also called egg binding. See egg bound.