It's less than 3 hours from the start of contractions to delivery, not from 4 cm dilated to delivery. :) Cheshirepat's wife's labor should definitely not have been called a precipitous labor, if it was 6 hours from the first real labor contraction to birth. My experience with a precipitous labor (water broke, no contractions, contractions lasted for 52 minutes until baby was out) was like umsami's: no rest, extremely intense, over quickly. I would prepare for a precipitous labor if I were you. My first labor lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes from first contraction I noticed to baby in arms (not meeting the definition of precipitous labor). My second one lasted 52 minutes from first contraction I noticed to baby in arms. I'm prepared for another one this time, but things can always change. My mom had 2 precipitous labors (2 hours for the first and 45 minutes for the second) followed by one labor that lasted 8 hours and one that lasted 32 hours.
What is the definition of a precipitous birth? - Page 2
I'm pregnant with my first, but my mother's experiences were:
1 hour 30 min, start to finish with me (second baby), I was born 10 min after getting to the hospital. The OB on call literally walked into the room, put on gloves, caught me as I came out, handed me up to my mother with a "congrats", then stripped off his gloves and walked out saying, "Well that's the fastest money I ever made".
My little sister took about 1 hour 15 min.
Can't say I know too much about my older sister's birth though.
Yeah, it really has to be that way because there's just no way to always know when someone hits 4 centimeters. Some women come in already at 4 centimeters, some women come in at 0 and still have a baby 3 hours later. The I think the only reason there's a name for it at all is because it comes with certain risks, and those risks probably don't have a lot to do with whether you were already 4 cm when you started labor or you weren't dilated at all. For instance, the risks to the baby really aren't going to have anything to do with how much you still needed to dilate. Those have to do with how long the baby is experiencing labor contractions, which help to get all that fluid out of the lungs, how much time the baby has to rotate properly, and things like that. Those things won't be affected by how many cm mom was or wasn't dilated once she had that first "REAL" labor contraction. I'm not sure if things like the risk of PPH would be, though. I'd guess no, but I don't really know.
With my first son, my water broke at 3pm, I felt my first (mild) contraction around 5:30pm, was checked into the hospital at 7pm around 3-4cm and he was born at 8:38. So from first contraction to birth was 3 hours. The term 'precipitous' wasn't mentioned at all, but my mw did comment that she had never seen a first time mom deliver as fast as I had (was he delivered in 1 push). DS1's heart rate dropped quite low, I had 3rd degree tearing and p.p. hemorrhaging, mw said mainly due to how fast and furious everything was.
With DS2 (different midwives), the term precipitous was thrown around a lot in the weeks leading up to my birth. I felt my first contraction at 9:30, called the midwives at 9:45 and he was born at 11:13 (about 10 minutes after they arrived!). 'Precipitous birth' was marked on my file, and DS2's heart rate dropped a bit as well (though not nearly as low as DS1).