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Indicators, Signs, and Dangers of Precipitous Labor

Ask any particular person about their start story, and likelihood is one of many first issues they’re going to let you know is how lengthy they had been in labor—and boy, can it differ. There are those that had been in labor for days, and others who had been in labor for only some hours. Tremendous-fast labor feels like a dream, proper? Properly, possibly not.

What Is Precipitous Labor?

Precipitous labor, additionally referred to as fast labor, is outlined as giving start after lower than three hours of standard contractions. Typically it’s additionally referred to as precipitous labor if labor lasts wherever underneath 5 hours. Though fast labor would possibly appear to be an excellent factor, it will possibly additionally carry dangers and disadvantages.

For example, precipitous labor is commonly related to increased preterm start charges. About 7% of people that have had fast labors delivered preterm infants. That is in comparison with solely about 2% of people that skilled labors of common size.

Individuals who expertise precipitous labor could have an urge to push that comes on shortly and with out warning. Furthermore, they could not expertise contractions as a result of their cervix dilates in a short time relatively than progressing by way of the three phases of labor. On common, energetic labor to supply of the placenta is roughly six to 18 hours, which is why precipitous labor is so notable.

Levels of Labor

Stage 1 is early labor and energetic labor. Early labor can final hours or days, and that is when the cervix begins to dilate, you expertise the lack of your mucus plug (additionally referred to as bloody present), and you’re feeling some contractions, though they aren’t totally common but. Lively labor is when the contractions come usually and turn into stronger and longer, and the cervix progresses to dilation of 10 centimeters. Stage 2 is when the child is born, and Stage 3 is the supply of the placenta.

Threat Elements

Whereas not “danger components” per se, some variables would possibly play into potential precipitous labor. These can embrace youthful maternal age, having given start beforehand, decrease toddler start weight, and other people with hypertensive problems (like preeclampsia).

Take into accout, although, that you would be able to have all of those traits and never have fast labor, and conversely, you may have none of those components and have fast labor. When you’re involved about any danger components for precipitous labor, speak together with your physician, midwife, or healthcare supplier.

Indicators and Signs

Signs of fast labor can differ however can embrace a sudden sample of sturdy contractions which can be very shut to at least one one other and don’t allow you to relaxation or get better between each; ache that appears like one lengthy contraction; or a sudden feeling of getting to push down like a bowel motion (this could additionally really feel like sturdy strain within the pelvis).


Though very quick labor would possibly initially sound interesting, there are some difficulties with it, in addition to some potential issues. Emotionally, the labor will be scary and worrying since you don’t have sufficient time to develop and use coping methods to take care of the ache and contractions. This will lead you to really feel uncontrolled, or like issues are occurring too quick.

Issues like ache administration or your authentic start plan could not be capable of be utilized, which may add to emotions of misery. From a sensible standpoint, location could be a downside; in case you stay distant from the hospital, there’s a shorter period of time to get there when you understand how far your labor has progressed.

Bodily, precipitous labor could cause:

  • Elevated danger of hemorrhage
  • Elevated danger of vaginal and/or cervical tearing or laceration
  • Threat of an infection in child or mom if start takes place in an unsterilized surroundings

What to Do

As any healthcare supplier or doula will let you know, labor and start are unpredictable. You actually by no means know the way your start expertise will unfold, and far of it isn’t in our management. If you end up experiencing fast labor, there are some issues you are able to do to cut back anxiousness:

Name your physician or midwife and allow them to know what’s going on, and that you simply assume you might be experiencing fast labor. When you assume start is imminent, name 911.

Lay down in your left aspect, which is healthier for blood move for the child and would possibly assist sluggish contractions.

Keep in a clear place (if doable) till assist arrives, in case you can’t go to the hospital.

Attempt to have somebody with you always.

Attempt to use respiration strategies that you simply realized in childbirth class, or just breathe deeply by way of contractions.

A Phrase From Verywell

When you’re fearful about precipitous labor, speak together with your healthcare supplier. Ask if try to be conscious of any doable danger components for you having precipitous labor, and what to do ought to you end up in that scenario. Your physician will be capable of offer you a personalised reply, based mostly in your being pregnant historical past and any related medical points which may come into play.

Verywell Household makes use of solely high-quality sources, together with peer-reviewed research, to help the information inside our articles. Learn our editorial course of to be taught extra about how we fact-check and hold our content material correct, dependable, and reliable.
  1. Suzuki S. Scientific significance of precipitous labor. J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(3):150–153. doi:10.14740/jocmr2058w

  2. Madonna, L, Markenson G, St. Marie, Peter. Impression of a fast second stage of labor on subsequent being pregnant outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;(127)144. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000483577.15540.64

  3. Albers LL, Schiff M, Gorwoda JG. The size of energetic labor in regular pregnancies. Obstet Gynecol. 1996;87(3):355-9.

  4. Labor S, Maguire S. The Ache of Labour. Rev Ache. 2008;2(2):15–19. doi:10.1177/204946370800200205

  5. Smith CA, Levett KM, Collins CT, Armour M, Dahlen HG, Suganuma M. Rest strategies for ache administration in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;3(3):CD009514. Printed 2018 Mar 28. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009514.pub2

Extra Studying

  • American Being pregnant Affiliation. Speedy Labor.

  • March of Dimes. Levels of Labor.

By Jaime R. Herndon, MS, MPH

Jaime Rochelle Herndon, MS, MPH, MFA, is a former author for Verywell Household overlaying fertility, being pregnant, start, and parenting. 

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