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Today we are talking Bandl’s ring! Has anyone ever heard of this before?

“Bandl’s ring (also known as pathological retraction ring) is the abnormal junction between the two segments of the human uterus, which is a late sign associated with obstructed labor.[1] Prior to the onset of labour, the junction between the lower and upper uterine segments is a slightly thickened ring. In abnormal and obstructed labours, after the cervix has reached full dilatation further contractions cause the upper uterine segment muscle fibres myometrium to shorten, so that the actively contracting upper segment becomes thicker and shorter. The ridge of the pathological ring of Bandl’s can be felt or seen rising as far up as the umbilicus. The lower segment becomes stretched and thinner and if neglected may lead to uterine rupture.”

Midwife Elder Francoise Souverville discusses her experience with us and it is nothing short of fascinating. I have never heard or seen of Bandl’s ring before, so so so interesting. So little information is actually available online. Have you experienced this while at a birth? Please share your story below in the comments or email me as we would love to hear about it.


Of my 43 years of attending births I finally had my first experience of a Bandl’s Ring. Am I safe to say one in over 2000 are the chances? Ha! Nonetheless, this woman and her experience has redirected my life completely…and I am the happier for it. I want to share this because we all learned a lot. Two doulas, myself and my apprentice. I felt a little weary about not knowing what it was, but when I contacted Ina May and she contested that she had never seen one I was relieved. (Thank you dear!) I want to say that 3 weeks prior to this delivery I noticed an unusual thickness of fat just above her pubis – it was similar to a small ovular plate. I actually asked her about it because I thought it was different. My apprentice brought that back to my memory after the whole experience and I believe this was a sign to be shared as a possibility of a Bandl’s Ring. Also, that it happens more with South American women and the clincher is that it doesn’t become evident until well into active labor. The contractions are also different than the common pattern with a primagravida. Close together throughout but 40 sec. or less in length. My connection is always with the baby and I usually let the woman labor her own way. In this event I saw baby come down to -1 station at 7cms and within four hours go back up with 3cms! Nothing that I hadn’t experienced before with women who have odd pelvis’, but this woman was perfect and beautiful in her attitude. At some point I resorted to an extended bladder, also having seen that a few times and this looking similar… first! But when that wasn’t it, I had no clue. I took pictures and sent them out to my midwife colleagues in the US, and one answered me that it might be a Bandl’s Ring, but that she had never seen one either. Straight to Google and there it was…..evidently and very specifically describing what we had been seeing. It was the first time in my life I sent this baby for a Cesarean birth! I have witnessed a few before but always for psychological reasons, not physical. (Imagine that in 43 years). I would love to share with someone who also has experienced this….



Angela Gallo
Melbourne Doula, Birth Photographer and Birth Business Mentor

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