Are second labors faster than first labors?

You’ve probably heard it a million times. Every pregnancy and every birth is different, and of course, we all know this is true. Even so, we have all heard stories about how much faster that second baby is born and doctors do know that, statistically, second labors are faster than first labors. The average rate of cervical dilation is 1.2 cm per hour for a first baby and 1.5 cm for subsequent deliveries. Also faster is the time that second time Moms push, dropping from an average of two hours to an average of one hour with the second (and subsequent) babies. Other studies show that health care practitioners spend about 16-24 hours with first time Moms in labor and about 5-10 hours on second time (or subsequent) Moms There is no way to know if your labor and delivery will go faster unto you are in the throws of giving birth.

There are many factors that influence the speed (or slowness) of your delivery. Size of the baby, the position of the baby, and the quality of your contractions can all affect the length of your labor. Sometimes you might be so worried about how fast or slow the labor will go that it may seem to drag on forever, or at least a lot longer than what you expected. Complicating matters, some women will rush to the hospital when labor begins, only to find that the extended time they spend makes everything seem to drag on.

Some women will experience what is known as a precipitous birth. Precipitous, or fast, labor usually lasts less than three hours. If you have had a previous precipitous birth, or if you are well past your due date when you begin labor you may be a likely candidate for a faster birth. Also, if your last baby was born in the previous twelve to eighteen months, you are more likely to deliver quickly. Having a precipitous birth, or even worrying about a fast labor can be quite nerve wracking, so it is important to talk with your health care practitioner about your concerns early in your pregnancy.


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