or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › What is the definition of a precipitous birth?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What is the definition of a precipitous birth?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've been reading up on precipitous births. One definition says that it is a birth that lasts less than 3 hours from first contraction to birth. Another says that it is a birth that lasts less than 3 hours from active labor (4 centimeters) to birth.

The reason I wonder is that my birth with Ds was 6 hours total, from first contraction to birth. But, when I got to the hospital I was dilated to 3, and he was born three hours later. So active labor was less than three hours, one of which I was stuck at 9.5 and 30 minutes of pushing. So I dilated really rapidly from 3 to 9.5 in 1.5 hours.

I am due to have my baby at the end of this month. My midwife thinks I will have a labor the same length as last time. From what I read about precipitous birth though, only 2% of women have one and the biggest risk factor is already having had one. Also, it is very rare for a first time mom to have one.

If I didn't technically have a precipitous birth last time, I think I came pretty close for a first time mom. So, I'm wondering what the technical definition of a precipitous birth is and why there are two definitions floating around out there? Also, what do you think - will I have a labor roughly the same length, or much shorter?
post #2 of 27
Perhaps its because of the variation in progression? I know some moms who have prodomal laboring, but when it finally kicks in, they birth in just an hour or two. Other moms walk around dialated for weeks before labor finally kicks in...
post #3 of 27
Well, whether it was or it wasn't doesn't really matter. Sounds like you birth babies relatively quickly. I think your MW is probably right - most women I know who had fast first births also had fast subsequent births. Lucky you!
post #4 of 27
The second definition makes me laugh because I don't know anyone who would consider my births precipitous. I had 47 hours of labour (contractions 5-6 minutes apart to start and just kept getting closer together, never farther apart) the first time, and the second time was 18 hours from first contraction to birth. Not quick IMO.

But the first time I went from 4cm-complete in less than an hour and I pushed for 20 minutes. So I'd meet the less than 3 hour time frame there.

The second I went from 4cm to him in my arms in 15 minutes. So yeah definitely there.

But I think it depends on why you are defining it. I've heard people talking about it in terms of midwife being able to get there for a homebirth or being able to get to the hospital for a hospital birth. Despite the fact I would qualify under the second definition I had tons of time to prepare for birth so the end part going quickly doesn't really matter that much if that makes sense.

If you are looking at it from a physiological, effects on Mom and baby point of view then yes, the second definition makes sense because certainly there was no slow stretching of tissues for me especially in my second birth. He was high too right up until the end. Came out with no visible molding at all, just this perfect little round head that had people asking if I'd had a c-section with him.

As for whether it is likely to happen again I don't think there is any way to know that until baby is here and it's over. I'd just have a plan in place that you are comfortable with for either possibility
post #5 of 27
My mw did not count my 2nd birth as precipitous, because her definition was from first contraction to birth less than 3 hours, and my labor was 3 hours and 5 minutes.

With my 3rd, we were all prepared for the mw to race here at the first contraction. And instead, I ended up doing a castor oil induction at 42 weeks, it took awhile for contractions to establish a pattern and I ended up with my longest labor so far (7 hours...), so while I agree it's good to be prepared for a quick birth -- it's also a good idea to be mentally prepared for a longer labor!
post #6 of 27
I'd say who cares about the definition - your first birth was very fast for a first birth, and I'd be prepared for an even quicker second.

I was 26 hours with #1, 2 hours with #2, and 3 hours with #3. The mad dash to the hospital with #2 was the reason we decided on a HB for #3.
post #7 of 27
If it has any bearing on liability for the MW, I'd say your labor was non-precipitous. For some MWs in some places, it could potentially be a risk-out issue. Certainly, you're in a gray zone with the definitions.

My last labor was similar to triscuitsmom's. Loooong, slow, "dysfunctional" (not a term used by my MW, thank goodness!), "semi-active" (the term she did use) labor, turned "precipitous" when my water broke at 6cm and "tight." Seventeen minutes later, I was holding him! Not entirely sure when I hit 4cm but it's *possible* that was within 3 hours of the birth (I just don't remember now). Still, not a classic precipitous story.

I would certainly expect that you might labor quickly again, and have your MW prepared for that (sounds like she is!). Otherwise, there's probably not much to worry about.
post #8 of 27
I've been wodering the same thing about dds(1st) birth. I had a sort of strange pattern. I labored at home for 2.5 hours, got to the hospital at 8 centimeters and then it took 2 hours to get to 10 centimeters. The labor totally slowed down. Weird.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
I've been wodering the same thing about dds(1st) birth. I had a sort of strange pattern. I labored at home for 2.5 hours, got to the hospital at 8 centimeters and then it took 2 hours to get to 10 centimeters. The labor totally slowed down. Weird.
I don't think that is an uncommon response to being out of your own environment. For some women it's stronger than others (for some women it stops their labour completely).
post #10 of 27
My first labor was about 7 hours start to finish.

My second was...no labor, water breaks, one contraction, out come babies. Less than 20 minutes start to finish.

While nothing is ever certian I think that if you had a short labor the first time it is best to prepare for a shorter birth the second time around1
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses! I guess it doesn't matter how it is defined, though it looks like it's probably from first contraction to birth. Either way, I am expecting a fast labor again. I really don't want a fast labor though and am not looking forward to it. It was far too intense and too painful for me to keep up with, and that was 6 hours, I just can't imagine anything less than that. But I am trying to prepare for the possibility, and also hoping for at least 6 hours again!
post #12 of 27

OH my god.  My water broke on February 1st, went directly to hospital, baby wasn't born until February 5th.  By then moved to birthing room and over 24 HOURS of labor.  I hate you.  XD XD ROTFLMAO.gif  Seriously though.  Here's MY description of precipitous birth.  LUCKY !!!

 

I haven't read any of the other answers but honestly for true "precipitous birth" I think there has to be a problem that makes the baby almost literally shoot out.   In one story I read, a 7 months pregnant woman in India was on a train and went to the toilet (which on trains in India is just a hole or chute that leads directly onto the tracks (ew) and instead of peeing or pooping the baby just fell out, literally.  HAPPY ENDING though the child did survive.  I think true precipitous births are related to pregnancy complications.

YOU just sound like a fast baby delivery system.  ENJOY !! 

 

My baby only weighted 5 lbs & 4 ozs and could barely get out (still had to have an

episiotomy OW) anyway it was just neverending, I really truly do envy you.

 

Hey if you still read this site, any updates on the second delivery of your beautiful baby ?  :D

 

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post

Thanks for all the responses! I guess it doesn't matter how it is defined, though it looks like it's probably from first contraction to birth. Either way, I am expecting a fast labor again. I really don't want a fast labor though and am not looking forward to it. It was far too intense and too painful for me to keep up with, and that was 6 hours, I just can't imagine anything less than that. But I am trying to prepare for the possibility, and also hoping for at least 6 hours again!


My first was 3.5 hours from first contraction to baby: crazy intense. #2 was somewhat longer--7 hours from ROM to baby--but only about the last hour of that (active labor?) was hard work. The longer labor was SO much easier to deal with...not to mention the fact that I was at home, in an infinitely more peaceful environment. So I wish you the same!

post #14 of 27

FWIW, my last two weren't technically precipitous, but close--4 hours from start to finish.

 

And in terms of pain, they were very different, so maybe you will luck out this time.  One of those for me was intense *and* painful, major back labor.  Ouch.  The other was very intense, but I don't remember it as painful.

post #15 of 27

On my chart, my second birth is described as "Precipitous second stage."  I went from 5-ish cms to giving birth in under an hour, probably most of it was in the last few minutes of that hour.   I got into the tub at 5cms, and an hour later, as my backache was geting worse, told DH to pull the cord for the nurse "because something feels different."   Just as he did that, I had a full-on fetal ejection reflex -- my water broke, I stood up (at exactly that moment) and baby just fell into crowning position. 

 

But it's not officially a precipitous *birth* because I labored on and off with noticeable contractions for the better part of a day.   

 

My coworker's wife had a real precipitious birth -- something like 30 minutes from her first noticeable contraction to giving birth on the bathroom floor.   Baby was 3 weeks early and had difficulty getting started, too.... in their case doctors guess she came out because she was not doing well inside.

post #16 of 27

I would be prepared for a fast birth next time. My first son's labor was 4 hours start to finish (but I was induced because of medical issues) however I was having silent contractions that I wasn't aware of and was already basically in labor anyways. I thought my labor progressed fast because of the pitocin, but a L&D nurse told me that nope, it was probably just me. Sure enough she was right. My labor with my second son was 3 hours start to finish. By the time I figured out I was in labor, I was progressing very fast. We checked into triage at 5:30 and I was at a 4 and 45 minutes later I was a 10 and out came baby. It was very fast and very intense.  The second baby always comes faster then the first, so definitely keep that in mind and good luck! You will do great.

post #17 of 27
I've had two....induced for kids #1 and #3...,but precipitous for my two natural births.

DS2..,9+ pounds...came in 2-1/2 hours....start to finish.

DS4....8 pounds...came in 40 minutes....start to finish.

When I got to the hospiral with #4...they didn't think I was in active labor. Things progressed very quickly...and he was out 20 min later. I had a feeling that I could repeat...so tried to get there as soon as I felt noticable contractions.

My experience is that contractions are VERY strong....as bad as pitocin...and no rest in between...but...over very quickly.
post #18 of 27

We just had our first child on Sunday.  The medical staff called my wife's birth "precipitous".  She had her water break as the first sign of labor, contractions started an hour later.  The whole thing lasted 7.5 hours with about 45 min to 1 hour of actual pushing.

post #19 of 27

We just had our first child on Sunday.  The medical staff called my wife's birth "precipitous".  She had her water break as the first sign of labor, contractions started an hour later.  The whole thing lasted 7.5 hours with about 45 min to 1 hour of actual pushing.

post #20 of 27
Q

Edited by member234098 - 5/25/12 at 11:17pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Birth and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › What is the definition of a precipitous birth?