Eutocic and Dystocic Delivery: What Is the Difference?

Eutocic and Dystocic Delivery: What Is the Difference?

Last update: 16 July, 2018

Eutocic and dystocic delivery: what are they? You’ve likely read comments about them in pregnancy books or magazines, or heard about them as a topic of conversation between friends.

In this article we’ll teach you the difference between a eutocic and dystocic delivery, as well as the characteristics of each one.

Eutocic and dystocic delivery

Eutocic and dystocic delivery are two technical classifications of births. These terms are used almost exclusively by medical professionals. But what does each one specifically refer to?

Eutocic delivery

A eutocic delivery or birth develops without the need for a doctor’s intervention. This is what is commonly known as a “natural” birth and occurs vaginally.

When a eutocic delivery is anticipated, the date of birth cannot be foreseen with complete certainty. This type of delivery usually occurs between 37 and 41 weeks.

Eutocic and Dystocic Delivery: What Is the Difference?

When the time comes, the baby is naturally positioned with the head in the birth canal, or the woman’s pubis. With contractions and pushing, the baby, who already wants to leave, is coaxed out.

The goal of the doctor is to accompany the woman and to stabilize her emotionally. The doctor also ensures that there are no complications that could hinder a normal birth.

Some women choose an epidural anesthesia. Others decide to expose themselves to the pain to not miss any sensation of their child’s birth.

In case anesthesia is not applied, the mother should try to manage the pain in other ways. The pain can exhaust her, cause fear and create a feeling of lack of control. Breathing techniques can help the mother to stay calm during this time.

A eutocic delivery is the one that nature has foreseen for all women, and the one that involves less risk, for both the mother and the child.

Dystocic delivery

Dystocic delivery occurs when there are some complications that require the doctor’s intervention. The causes for this type of birth are referred to as “dystocias.” They are classified into two groups, depending on whether they originate with the mother or with the baby.

  1. Maternal dystocias come from the mother’s condition.
  2. Fetal dystocias are determined by the baby’s situation.

Maternal dystocias

In this group, anomalies are located in the body of the woman who is giving birth. They can be of two types:

  • Mechanical dystocias are those that affect the bone structure of the pelvis. There are occasions when, after dilation, a lack of space in the pelvic area that allows the baby to leave is diagnosed. There are other mechanical dystocias that have to do with the uterus or birth canal and affect the soft tissue. In these cases, the obstetrician will decide how to proceed.
  • Dynamic dystocias are those that affect the uterus’s ability to contract. They can impair the frequency and intensity of contractions. Occasionally, these dystocias cause contractions that are too strong. In others, they are very weak and infrequent. Non-rhythmic contractions are also included in the category of dynamic dystocias. These problems can also interfere with delivery.
Eutocic and Dystocic Delivery: What Is the Difference?

Fetal dystocias

  • The baby is in a transverse or oblique situation. This is a case of fetal dystocia. The child isn’t in a cephalic position: instead of inserting the head into the mother’s pelvis, the fetus presents itself sideways. In this situation, the obstetrician will undoubtedly decide to perform a cesarean section.
  • Breech position. In this case, it’s the feet or the buttocks that are located in the birth canal. The doctor is also likely to choose a cesarean section in this case. However, if the conditions were optimal, vaginal delivery wouldn’t necessarily be ruled out as an option.

Can a dystocic birth be prevented?

Research indicates that there are pre-delivery conditions that allow a possible dystocia to be anticipated. These include the mother’s advanced age or the baby’s excessive size and weight.

There is also the case of a very long labor. These are alerts that will require the doctor’s special attention to control possible problems.

It’s usually recommended for pregnant women to move and walk around before the moment of delivery. Changing posture during labor can help the baby position himself well and prevent a dystocic birth.

In addition, relaxation and deep breathing techniques can contribute to an increased sense of safety in the mother.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gordon: Obstetrics Gynecology & Infertility. 5th Edition. Scrub Hill Press Inc. 2001.
  • Rivlin: Manual of Clinical Problems in Gynecology and Obstetrics. 5th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia. 2000.
  • Lambrou: The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia. 1999.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.