What the heck is Precipitous Labor?

Its hard to say exactly how long a “normal” labor should take, it varies so much person to person. However labor that takes 3 or less hours that leads to a spontaneous birth is called Precipitous Labor, and can be very overwhelming. Many people who have gone through a labor like this say things similar to, “Birth just happened to them.” They may not feel like they were able to own their experience.  

Things to avoid saying to someone who went through Precipitous Labor:

  • “You’re so lucky it went so fast!
  • “I was in labor for X amount of hours!
  • “I wish mine was ONLY that long””
    • Everything that happened in that X amount of hours for you happened in less than 3 hours for them. This may not necessarily mean it’s “easier.” There is less time to prepare for the increasing intensity and frequency of contractions because of the rapid birth–which can lead to physical and emotional damage.
  • Any other variation of the statements above.
    • It’s great to want to talk about birth stories however not everyone has a positively memorable one. Remember to be empathetic and sensitive.

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