In this condition the contractions of the uterus are irregular, infrequent and ineffectual.

The diagnosis is made by palpation and timing the length of contractions. Repeated vaginal examination will demonstrate a cervix which fails to dilate.

Contractions may be strengthened by rehydration, relaxation (e.g. by epidural anaesthesia), rupture of the membranes and the use of intravenous syntocinon.

The dose of syntocinon must be titrated against the strength and duration of uterine contractions to prevent hypertonic uterine action or the formation of a constriction ring