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Donna BaloLength of Subsequent Labor
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS

Q. Statistically, are second births faster? With my first, I labored 30 hours. It was about six hours for my second. I'm wondering if I should expect a shorter labor this time. We have an hour's drive to the hospital, so I'm a bit anxious about it.

A. While it is common to have a long labor the first time and a shorter labor the second time, there are many factors that go into length of labor such as: size of the baby, position of the baby, quality of the contractions, etc. Sometimes because of the worry, or hope of a quicker labor, some subsequent labors seem to go on forever, or at least longer than expected or anticipated.

When you have had a quick labor, it can be nervewracking. My experience has been usually we error on the side of caution. In otherwords, at the first symptom we all rush to the hospital, thinking THIS IS IT! Sometimes those subsequent labors end up dragging on as we go to the hospital earlier than necessary.

Talk to your careprovider about your concerns. You can probably come up with a good plan that feels comfortable for both of you.

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