Power unleashed: This is what happens during a business storm


work storm
When the labor pains are too strong and too frequent

Labor storm: A pregnant woman lies on a hospital bed with a pained face

© globalmoments/Adobe Stock

A birth storm is exhausting and painful for the expectant mother: the birth pains come without interruption and with a high intensity. But what is the cause of this unleashed power and is hyperactive labor dangerous for both mother and baby? Here you will find all the answers!

Birth pains – the contractions of the uterus under the Birth – usually occurs at regular intervals with breaks in labor. This gives the expectant mother a chance to muster some strength between contractions. It’s different with a work storm: With this complication, women don’t have time to catch their breath. Read all about the definition, causes, and therapy here.

What is a business storm?

A storm of work – in obstetrics how overactive contractions OR uterine hyperactivity denoted – characterized by contractions that are too strong and/or too frequent during birth.

To these three symptoms a labor storm during childbirth can be recognized:

  • It’s about Tachysystole: The woman giving birth has more than 4-5 contractions every 10 minutes (3 every 10 minutes is considered normal).
  • The work accompanies you high pressure in the uterus – and are therefore particularly painful.
  • It’s about sustained contractions with a contraction duration of more than 60 seconds.

If it is a business storm can be seen on contraction recorder (tocogram): Records both the frequency and strength of contractions during labor. Also, the stomach feels permanently very hard and tense during a labor.

What does a business storm feel like?

Labor pains are known to be painful. But there’s usually a pause in labor between each contraction — you usually don’t feel any pain here, and your uterus is relaxed. It’s different with a work storm: Due to the constant contractions, the labor pain does not go away at all and the uterus is tense all over. This can lead to panic, cramps or anxiety. Also, when running, the contractions are excessive, so the pain is more intense than normal labor. Many women also report a very painful experience pressure on the cervix in a business storm.

However, it’s not possible to predict exactly how a labor storm during childbirth will feel for you. The perception of childbirth pain is very individual and everyone has a different pain tolerance.

What causes persistent contractions?

It may happen that no recognizable trigger for a labor storm can be identified – overactive contractions can also occur spontaneously during childbirth. Often, however, there is a break in the birthing process that midwives and doctors can quickly identify.

These are the possible ones Causes of a business storm:

  • Drug Induction Overdose: Too high a dose of labor-inducing prostaglandins or oxytocin during induction may cause uterine overstimulation.
  • Head-pelvis disproportion: There’s a discrepancy between your baby’s head and your pelvis: he won’t fit.
  • Attitude abnormalities: Your child is not lying optimally in the pelvis (e.g. stargazers or shoulder dystocia) and is therefore not making good progress.
  • Tension and restlessness: You are restless, very anxious and tense.
  • Cervical dystocia: Despite contractions, the cervix does not open or does not open wide enough.
  • Premature placental abruption: The placenta partially or completely detaches from the uterine wall before the baby is born.
  • Too much endogenous oxytocin: Your body releases too much labor-inducing hormone; often due to a ruptured membrane (amniotomy) or from having too muchamniotic fluid (polyhydramnios).
  • Working cocktail with castor oil: Castor oil can lead to excessive stimulation of the uterus.

Does Cytotec drug cause labor storms?

Cytotec is a medicine originally used to treat stomach ulcers. Contains the misoprostol drug that induces labor – a prostaglandin – and is therefore also used to induce labor. Cytotec is not officially approved for use in obstetrics and has therefore been used in childbirth as an off-label use, i.e. within the scope of medical therapeutic freedom.

In recent years, however, Cytotec and misoprostol have increasingly fallen into disrepute: birth complications and storms of labor are common with the administration of the active ingredient side effects connecting. Education however, they have shown that, when dosed correctly, Cytotec and the prostaglandin misoprostol are safe for labor induction and are less likely to lead to C-sections than other labor induction drugs. However: Cytotec is no longer used in Germany for induction, the manufacturers have agreed this with the Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Devices (BfArM).

Is hyperactive work dangerous?

A work storm is not only extremely exhausting and painful, it also poses dangers for mother and child. A labor storm often leads to a reduction in blood flow to the placenta, which in turn leads to acute placental insufficiency, i.e. lack of oxygen can cause in the unborn child.
Also, the fetal heart rate often unfavorable for labor storm: the baby’s heart rate may decrease during overactive contractions (deceleration) and can lead to a slow (bradycardia) or very rapid (tachycardia) heartbeat.

For the mother, hyperactive labor increases the risk of a uterine rupture: The wall of the uterus can tear. Complications associated with a uterine rupture include overdose of labor-inducing drugs, missed delivery with labor storms, or scarring (eg, from a previous cesarean section). Therefore, women planning and needing to have a natural birth after cesarean section (VBAC) are monitored especially closely. They are at increased risk of uterine rupture. A ruptured uterus is considered an obstetrical emergency, but it’s very rare.

What helps with a work storm?

To tame the storm of contractions there are various tricks that are based on the condition of mother and child. The goal is to normalize labor and achieve effective labor with good placental perfusion.

It exists during childbirth no acute danger and if the baby’s heart rate is normal on the CTG, the following can be tried with the help of the midwife:

  • relaxing bath
  • Sacral massage
  • calm and guided breathing
  • acupuncture
  • Rub the abdomen with essential oils that inhibit labor

The CTG shows negative changes and your baby is in grave danger, the labor storm must be treated with medication. Your doctor or midwife will educate you on this Drug that inhibits labor (Tocolytic) administered. If nothing helps and your child becomes too stressed despite the tocolytic, the doctors will come in emergency cesarean carry out.

Reading tip: Would you like to prepare for your childbirth with the help of hypnosis? Then you can find out all about hypnobirthing here.


  • Boots, Andrea et al. (Ed.): Obstetrics: Textbook for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Delivery and Labor, 5th Edition, Hippocrates Verlag, Stuttgart 2013.
  • Federal Center for Health Education: work stormlast accessed 1/15/2023.
  • German Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology et. to the.: S2k Guidelines for Labor Inductionlast accessed 1/15/2023.


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