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-   -   What is the definition of a precipitous birth? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/213-birth-beyond/1241684-what-definition-precipitous-birth.html)

jennica 07-09-2010 03:54 AM

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?

laurata 07-09-2010 05:57 PM

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...

kltroy 07-09-2010 07:10 PM

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!

triscuitsmom 07-09-2010 09:04 PM

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

donutmolly 07-10-2010 01:46 AM

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!

Galatea 07-10-2010 12:49 PM

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.

HeatherB 07-12-2010 04:44 AM

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.

scottishmommy 07-14-2010 01:20 AM

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.

triscuitsmom 07-14-2010 09:24 AM

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).

August09baby 07-14-2010 12:35 PM

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

jennica 07-14-2010 01:44 PM

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!

Bunny Olesen 01-20-2012 06:52 PM

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

 


XanaduMama 01-20-2012 06:59 PM



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!


cappuccinosmom 01-21-2012 04:44 AM

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.


savithny 01-21-2012 12:14 PM

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.


xnwife 01-28-2012 02:42 PM

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.


umsami 03-15-2012 10:34 PM

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.

Cheshirepat 03-17-2012 02:28 PM

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.


Cheshirepat 03-17-2012 02:29 PM

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.


member234098 03-19-2012 09:34 AM

Q

Plummeting 03-20-2012 02:31 AM

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.


mforeback 04-11-2012 04:37 PM

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". lol.gif

 

My little sister took about 1 hour 15 min.

 

Can't say I know too much about my older sister's birth though.


OkiMom 04-13-2012 06:08 PM

I was told less than three hours from first contraction to birth..

Ive had two: my second daughter was 1 1/2 hours from first contraction to birth. My son was little less than 3 hours from first contraction to birth.


Plummeting 04-14-2012 02:08 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by OkiMom View Post

I was told less than three hours from first contraction to birth..



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.


pixie401 10-01-2012 05:52 AM

my 1st child born 13mins from very first pain  second child born 8mins from 1st pain and was delivered breech  my 3rd child born 5mins from first pain  all home births  ....... daughters  labour  32mins from first pain born at home breech  


pixie401 10-01-2012 05:54 AM

my 1st child born 13mins from very first pain  second child born 8mins from 1st pain and was delivered breech  my 3rd child born 5mins from first pain  all home births  ....... daughters  labour  32mins from first pain born at home breech  


Ms Rabbit 10-02-2012 09:53 AM

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).



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