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length of labor for second time moms

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Could anyone give me some input as to how second labors tend to be, length-wise as compared to the first? I talked to one midwife and she mentioned that they are usually half the length. My first (and only) labor was something along the following lines:

3 pm- 9 pm: infrequent, irregular contractions, not even sure if it was "real" labor or not

9/10 pm: signs of labor showed up--diarrhea, bloody show, etc. and contractions became regular, 5-10 min apart.

12 pm: contractions 5 min apart

2 am: ds born spontaneously, as in the "fetal ejection reflex." I didn't consciously push a single time.

so this midwife is suggesting that perhaps I should expect about a 2 hour labor this time around, considering that the active phase of labor was only about 4-5 hours. Thoughts? I'm trying to figure out how far out I'm willing to go in terms of a birth center (not having a homebirth though).

Thanks!
post #2 of 17
Your midwife is right that second labors are shorter and I have also heard the half the lenght average. That said, no one can really tell you what it will be like. The baby might be in a different position, for example, and labor could actually be longer. Or, it might be super quick. These are only averages and won't really tell you for sure.

For myself, my first labor was 26 hours from first contractions through to active labor and birth. My second was 15.5 hours. My active labor with #1 was about 11 hours long. My active labor with # 2 was about 5 hours. So the "about half" average held true for me.

Congrats and happy birthing!
post #3 of 17
Don't think I would tell anyone what length of labor to expect. STatistically speaking, second babies are the fastest....but you never know. Some are longer than the first, or about the same. Every birth is different. Not really such a good idea to do anything but stay in the moment!
post #4 of 17
For me that was true...first labor 43 hours & second was 25 hours. MUCH better in my opinion...
post #5 of 17
My first labor was 6 hours from SROM to baby. I'd say almost all of that was active, contractions began immedietally.

My second was 67 hours from SROM to baby, with what I would consider active labor (ctx 4-5 minutes apart) about 18 hours. She was incredibly asynclitic, so although I did have contractions the first two days, they were really only serving the fuction of moving her. I didn't have any vaginal exams until I was pushing so I can't tell you how dialation progressed.

I NEVER tell that story to clients having second babies
post #6 of 17
# 1 Was 13 hours from SROM to Birth, 6 hours of active labor.

# 2 Was 5 hours (all active) from ROM by midwife, I was already 4 cm.
post #7 of 17
Both of my births were 12 hours. I think you should "plan" on anything goes...could be 2 hours, could be 24 hours. You could have prodromal labor for days or weeks and be questioning "is this labor" right up until transition. Or you could just wake up one morning in hard and fast labor. Or you might have 12 hours of early labor...

anything goes!

I was disappointed in a weird sense that my second labor was as long as the first. Although it was an "easy" labor (well-spaced contractions and lots of nice breaks between), I felt kinda ripped off that I didn't get a 6 hour quickie. I wondered for a long time why it mattered, why did I feel ripped off? I had a fine birth. But our own little birth society set me up for the thoughts of, "Oh, it's your second, it will be quick!" and when it didn't happen, I felt kind of like I failed in some way for not having bragging rights of a fast and furious labor or something. Weird but true!
post #8 of 17
THERE IS NO WAY TO TELL. All the averages and personal anecdotes in the world will have absolutely nothing to do with what your second labor will be like. Personally, my first was 16, the second 10.
My good friend IRL, first was about 24, second was 6.
A lady in my holistic moms group literally labored while she was sleeping (how do i get to do that?) and woke up PUSHING and her dh caught the baby while they were on the phone screaming at the midwife!
post #9 of 17
I agree that there's no way to tell. Example:

A friend of mine had a perfectly average 19 hour labor with her first. With her second, she had 42 hours of back labor with contractions 3 minutes apart. Both babies were born naturally.

My first was almost 28 hours totaly, 13 hours active. My 2nd was less than 4.

Very wide discrepancy there! On average 2nd labors may be faster but it's impossible to apply averages to any individual in birth.
post #10 of 17
#1 - 14 hours
#2 - 1 hour 40 minutes!
#3 - ~ 5 hours
post #11 of 17
I struggled with this same question. My first labor was 5 hours, from the time my water broke (SROM) until she was born. I just gave birth 5 weeks ago, and if she hadn't been a 10lber it probably would have gone even quicker, but as it was, it was still only a 2.5 hour labor (again SROM). I wanted a midwife, but the closest one was over an hour away. It was worth it to me to basically do the whole labor in the car, just to ensure I had a midwife. It's a tough call, and I never really felt like I got great advice.

My two cents? Be ready for anything-you could very well go longer the second time around-as other have pointed out. But, if you decide to go with a provider at some distance away from your home, be prepared to do transition in the car, and be prepared to deliver there too-you just never know. Best of luck!
post #12 of 17
I have also heard approximately half the length of your first labor, and while I want to be prepared for a 5 hour labor, I am perfectly aware that babies come when babies are good and ready. And it totally depends on how ready that baby is, how the baby is positioned, how relaxed mentally, emotionally, and physically mom is, etc. But I would LOVE to have only 5 hours of labor...
post #13 of 17
I was in labor for 9 hours with my son, but I was induced so I often wonder if my second labor will be the same or shorter. The average length of labor for a first baby is around 14 hours apparently but sometimes I wonder if they mean active labor or start to finish.

Every pregnancy is different though. My mom went on her due date each time but with her first (me) she had stomach labor, with my sister (5 years later) she had back pain. My aunt had both her sons by inductions. So you really can't go on heredity even.
post #14 of 17
My first labor was 9 hours. My second labor was 7 hours. So, a little shorter but no big rush!
post #15 of 17
I just have to agree there is no way to know.
I would say that it is fair to say the second is Usually faster. but think, there are just so many things that can affect it, you just cant know.
post #16 of 17
1st and 3rd both 12 hours first cx to birth (both boys)

2nd 27 hours first cx to birth (girl)
post #17 of 17
I usually do tell women that 2nd labors tend to be faster than their first (statistically speaking) but there is no real guarantee. In my personal experience:

1st: 18 hours active labor (plus about 8 hours latent)
2nd: 1 hour 47 minutes from cramp to baby

I am glad to see veganf's history, because I am hoping for a bit more time the third time (less than two hours was horrific for me).
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