Last reviewed 05/2021

Dystocia is defined as the slow or painful birth of a child.

Labour is deemed obstructed when there is no progress despite strong uterine contractions.

Both disorders may be thought of in terms of abnormalities in the following:

  • powers
  • passage
  • passenger

Shoulder dystocia is a specific example of dystocia where there is an inability to deliver the shoulder after the head has been delivered.