This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
When labor is delayed in any of its stages in consequence of failure of the uterus to contract with suffi cient vigor, it is necessary to adopt means for the purpose of stimulating the contractions. Among other simple measures which may be applied with advantage are the application of cold water to the breast and over the abdomen. Sometimes alternate hot and cold applications are more effective than cold alone. Sometimes the inactivity is due to exhaustion, and rest is needed. In such cases, the patient should be allowed to sleep, if possible, and should be given food. In case of very great weakness, a small quantity of some form of local stimulant may be taken without detriment, and probably with advantage.
Electricity is a very useful agent in cases of this sort. The positive pole should be applied to the back and the negative over the womb. The hot vaginal douche is one of the most effective measures for use in these cases.