Hypertonic uterine contraction

Hypertonic Uterine Contraction: Everything You Need to Know

Childbirth is a physiological process that involves a series of uterine contractions. Uterine contractions become more intense and frequent as childbirth progresses. Hypertonic uterine contraction is a term used to describe contractions that are excessively intense and last longer than normal duration. Hypertonic uterine contractions can be dangerous to the mother and baby and can require medical interventions.

In this article, we will look at the signs and causes of hypertonic uterine contraction, and what can be done to manage them. We will also discuss the implications of hypertonic contractions and potential complications.

Signs of Hypertonic Uterine Contractions

You may experience hypertonic uterine contractions in the later stages of labor before delivery. Signs and symptoms of hypertonic contractions include:

  • Increasing intensity of the contraction with time
  • Longer duration of duration of contraction
  • Large rise in the peak systolic pressure in the closed loop front-back system
  • Fetal scalp pH lower than 7.2 suggesting fetal hypoxia or acidosis
  • Decreased fetal heart rate

Causes of Hypertonic Uterine Contraction

Typically, the cause of hypertonic contractions is due to a disruption in the normal labor process. Factors that can lead to hypertonic uterine contractions include:

  • Uterine distension: Pressure in the uterus can cause the muscles to become overstretched and lead to excessive intensity contractions that last longer than normal. Distension can be due to multiple fetuses, an ovarian cyst, or a large baby.
  • Uterine inadequacy: The uterus may be unable to handle the pressure of labor. This can result in hypertonic or prolonged contractions.
  • Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety can cause hypertonic contractions, as the body is releasing hormones like adrenaline, which can cause the smooth muscles of the uterus to contract excessively.
  • Induction: Induction of labor can lead to abnormal or excessive contractions.

Management of Hypertonic Uterine Contractions

If hypertonic contractions are diagnosed, a change in position or increase in hydration can help. Additionally, drugs like terbutaline, a type of β-2 agonist, can help reduce the severity and duration of the contractions.

Implications of Hypertonic Uterine Contraction

Hypertonic uterine contraction typically occurs in the second and third stages of labor. The effects of these contractions can include:

  • Increasing risk of uterine rupture, which is a serious complication.
  • A decrease in fetal oxygen supply, resulting in fetal distress.
  • Increased risk of uterine infection, preterm labor, and placental abruption.
  • Decreased oxygen supply for the mother, which can cause lightheadedness and exhaustion.
  • Increased chance of emergency c-section.


Hypertonic uterine contractions are a serious complication of childbirth. These contractions can increase the risks of serious complications such as uterine rupture, placental abruption, and fetal distress. If hypertonic contractions are suspected, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to reduce the risks and ensure a safe delivery.