Wouldn’t it be nice to know that as soon as your water breaks, or the moment you have that first contraction, you know your baby will be there almost immediately?
Some women and mothers would heartily agree and be eager to give birth very quickly in order to get the process over with as soon as possible. Other mothers may be more comfortable to take it one step at a time, dealing with each fluctuation and increase as things come along.
A small fraction of mothers don’t really have a choice and experience what is called precipitous labor or precipitous birth. And you may think you prefer it, but after hearing what it completely entails you may change your mind.
What Is A Precipitous Labor Birth?
Simply explained, it is when a mother goes through her entire labor and delivery in under three hours, and often shorter than that. I recently read an article about a mother who delivered her baby in 45 minutes ….. 45 minutes!! She had her three-year-old notifying neighbors to the situation. Isn’t that just crazy?
Most women have MUCH longer times experiencing labor. First-time mothers especially, normally have longer periods of active labor (up to 24 hours), but average around 12-15 hours in labor.
Now, keep in mind that if you have an epidural, you ARE going to take longer, sometimes as much as two to three times as long.
Anyway, about 2-3% of mothers experience this regardless of the number of children they’ve previously birthed or not.
Items Needed For Precipitous Labor
Why Does It Happen So Fast?
A few resources suggest that there is a physical reason why women experience such fast labor, in essence, genetics. Things such as:
- A well-aligned pelvis, pubic bone, and birth canal
- An unusually small baby
- Having a female relative who also experienced fast labor
I’ve also discovered some other causes not relating to bodily function that you may want to be aware of:
- Cocaine use during pregnancy creates significantly higher rates of precipitous labor and other labor and delivery issues. The journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology published a study in 2003 with Northwestern University Medical School Chicago that proves this.
- Autism in your baby may be associated with you experiencing a precipitous labor. The Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics did a meta-analysis in 2011 with Harvard and Brown University confirmation the association.
Now DON’T read that and immediately expect that you will have an autistic baby. There a MANY, MANY factors that have been studied about autism in babies. But realize that an association exists. And ALSO know that there’s an association with the air all of us breathe too.
That being said, the main factor you should really even be considering and thinking about is if anyone in your family experienced a precipitous labor. That’s the BEST notion you can guide from in order to help you be prepared for the possibility of it happening to you.
Caveats With A Fast Labor
In the few interviews I’ve read about mothers who’ve experienced this, almost all say that it is VERY challenging. Why? Because they had literally NO time.
- No time to mentally take each phase of the labor and delivery and process it.
- No time to get anywhere if you’re planning on birthing away from your home.
- No time to accept what may be happening and overcome the fear of things happening so quickly.
- No time to get used to the increase in strength of the contractions. Many report that they were immediately strong as if in transition (the last phase of labor) from the very beginning.
- No time to rest between contractions. Normal labor contractions are spaced a few minutes apart, but in this case they may just be a few seconds apart.
But after all was said and done, the labor and delivery took NO TIME at all.
So you can now decide for yourself if the idea of having a precipitous labor sounds a appealing to you or not. And if you know it runs in the family, no you can have an idea of what to expect and what to plan for.
What If I Experience This?
The hard part is that you may not know you’re in precipitous labor until you’re almost finished. But the key thing is that your contractions are quite hard throughout and very closer together, like less than a few minutes from the very beginning.
But if you suspect this may happen to you, the best things to really plan for is what can be done beforehand, if at all, such as:
- Have your labor bag checklist packed and ready by the door. If you’re planning on birthing at home, then this isn’t a worry.
- Make sure your transportation to the hospital or birthing center is clearly defined and ready. If your husband isn’t at home when you go into labor, have your back up informed such as a neighbor or friend ready to drop things instantly to help you.
- Ensure your children have places to go if they’re not coming with you. Again, a kindred neighbor or friend is a lifesaver here.
- Incorporate your relaxation techniques with the knowledge that things may happen quickly. When you have this in mind while you’re visualizing what works for you during labor, it will be much easier to grasp when the moment arrives.
- Stay CALM! Babies are born every day, in cars and on bathroom floors if need be. You will be okay….I promise. Mastering your relaxation beforehand will help tremendously. Plus having some calming essential oils to breathe it will help too. Lavender and Frankincense are my favorites for this.
I believe I will experience a precipitous labor again because I have now had one, even though it doesn’t run in my family. So it seems that no matter what you could or may never have one. But better to be aware and prepared in any case.
But now I want to hear from you mothers who HAVE experienced it too.
What were you thinking in the moment? How did you feel? What did you do to get through the experience? Everything shared here can help a new mother cross over the line to having a wonderful birth experience with your help.
Have you had a precipitous labor?
- Natural Birth Essentials
- I’m Ready To Have This Baby!
- The Confident Mother Natural Birthing Course
- How To Relax During Childbirth: 3 Simple Ways To Ease Tension & Enhance Joy
- Natural Baby Birth Masterclass
- Express Delivery – Normal? by Pathways To Family Wellness