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Domino Effect of
Birth Interventions

Teaching parents-to-be about what to expect during labor and birth is at the heart of childbirth education. Comprehensive childbirth education means explaining the importance of developing a birth plan but covering different scenarios that might occur during the birth process. Some scenarios may require birth interventions to help ensure a healthy outcome for both mother and baby.

Educating expectant parents about birth interventions means covering a variety of potential outcomes because—as every childbirth educator knows—one intervention can make one or more additional interventions necessary.

Fortunately, Childbirth Graphics has a diverse range of labor & birth education materials and models to help teach about a variety of birth interventions that may come into play during labor.

Read on to see how one birth intervention can have a domino or “knock-on” effect during labor, leading to additional interventions, and discover just a few of our labor & birth education resources that are perfect to teach about all aspects of the process of giving birth.


  • The woman’s labor is progressing very slowly. She has the option to be given Pitocin to induce or augment her labor.

  • The woman decides she wants medication to induce or augment her labor. She is given an IV, and the medication to get her labor moving is introduced through the IV. Soon, she begins to feel her uterus strongly contracting. Her healthcare professional has also ordered for her to wear an external fetal monitor to ensure the increased contractions don’t put too much stress on her baby.

  • The medicine is causing the woman’s uterus to contract very strongly, leading to increased pain. She decides to have an epidural.

With six charts, our Labor and Birth Intervention Chart Set
includes depiction of Pitocin administered through an IV tube.

  • From this point, the woman may avoid further issues requiring interventions. However, the epidural may lead to additional interventions. The combination of the medicine and the strong contractions also may cause her to feel nauseated and cause vomiting, making additional medication to control the nausea necessary. Or, the contractions may become heavy for a while, and the heart rate monitor may indicate the baby is in distress, leading the woman’s healthcare professional to recommend a cesarean section.


  • The woman’s pain is more intense than she anticipated. She decides she wants an epidural to reduce pain.

  • Because an epidural can affect a baby’s heart rate, the woman’s healthcare professional orders an external fetal heart monitor on at all times. The mother’s mobility for the rest of her labor is highly restricted.

  • Because many mothers experience a loss of blood pressure when given an epidural, the woman’s healthcare professional orders that she be given IV fluids. Her healthcare professional further orders that if the IV fluids don’t keep the woman’s blood pressure up, then she will be given additional medicines. The woman also will have a blood pressure cuff on her arm that automatically checks her periodically for the rest of her labor.

  • As is common with women who have an epidural, the woman’s bladder muscles are affected. As her labor progresses, she is unable to urinate. Her healthcare professional orders a catheter.

The Labor and Birth Accessories Teaching Kit includes an amnihook
for artificial amniotic membrane rupture and fetal monitor belly bands.

  • At this point, the woman may avoid further problems. However, the epidural may cause itching, requiring the woman’s healthcare professional to order medications that can make her sleepy and less able to enjoy the birth. The epidural medicine can also affect the baby after birth, making the baby sleepy and slow to latch on and breastfeed. Or, although reducing pain, the epidural may cause labor to stop progressing. To avoid the need for a cesarean, the woman’s healthcare professional may recommend that her labor be augmented through medications or other methods.

Breaking the “Bag of Waters”

  • The woman’s healthcare professional may suggest that her labor be augmented if she has gone into labor but the labor has stalled. Her healthcare professional may suggest rupturing the amniotic sac (“breaking the bag of waters”), which often augments and strengthens labor and can avoid the use of drugs for labor augmentation.

  • The woman decides to have her water broken. Her baby should be born within the next 24 hours. The woman begins to feel her contractions getting stronger.

  • The increased contractions cause significant pain. The woman may decide to get an epidural to deal with the pain, possibly leading to additional interventions becoming necessary as a result of the epidural. However, the woman’s labor also may to continue to progress until the baby is born, or labor may not progress, leading to a cesarean section becoming necessary.

Our Amniotic Membrane Rupture Chart includes
illustration of an artificial rupture with an amnihook.

Cesarean Section

  • A cesarean section is major surgery. Cesarean sections, like all surgeries, carry risks, such as blood clots, bleeding, infection, reactions to medications, potential injury to the baby, and more. For women in certain situations—such as women with high-risk pregnancies, those who have placental problems, and women whose babies are not positioned properly—a healthcare professional may recommend a cesarean section as the safest course of action.

  • A cesarean section is a surgical procedure done in a sterile operating room. The woman’s abdomen and her uterus are cut to remove her baby. The woman receives anesthesia and is typically given a block to numb the lower half of her body. In an emergency situation, she may be put to sleep.

Our Knitted Uterus Model Set With Fetal Model
includes a knitted uterus in a cesarean version.

  • Because of her cesarean section, the woman will have to stay in the hospital longer than if she had a vaginal birth. She also will be given medication to deal with the pain from the surgery. While she is recovering from surgery, it can be challenging to adjust to the new baby and breastfeeding, and she may need assistance to get plenty of rest.

  • The woman may have no additional complications from the cesarean section, or she may have complications, such as additional pain from the surgery. The woman may need to stay longer in the hospital or have significant pain for a few weeks even after she has returned home and started to settle in with her baby.

Learn More About Our Labor & Birth Education Materials

At Childbirth Graphics, we have a variety of models, displays, posters, and pamphlets to help educate expectant parents, patients, and students about a full range of labor and birth topics. Discover the products featured in this article and more by visiting our websites section devoted to labor & birth education resources.

©2008, 2021 Childbirth Graphics®