A fast labor is not always the best labor

Most pregnant women make birth plans and talk about their "ideal" birth. Majority of them hope for "quick" or "short" labor. When I tell other women about the birth of my daughter they usually say "You are so lucky" or "I hope that is how my birth goes" then I get big eyes and stop them to explain what a Precipitous labor really is.   

The term Precipitous Labor  is defined as "expulsion of the fetus within less than 3 hours of commencement of regular contractions." Yes, it does feel like the baby is literally being "expelled" from your body with no timeout, no detention, no time to talk it over. It is like one very long intense contraction that doesn't end until you feel so much pressure that there is nothing you can do but PUSH, regardless of whether a doctor or midwife is there to catch.    

I do not write this to scare but to set a realistic example of what "fast" labor really means. If you have had children before you remember the wave a contraction brings; the up, the peak, and the decline, then a break... then another. Precipitous does not have a break, the decline of one contraction is met with the immediate peak of another. There is no mental preparation you can do for a precipitous labor, unless of course you have had one before. But don't worry too much, while there is little published information on the statistics of precipitous labor, it is estimated that only 2% of births are considered "precipitous".  

Here is what I wish for you: Strong, Productive contractions that come like a wave, where you can recognize a pattern and mentally prepare for the big moment.  Contractions that last longer than 3 hours to allow your mind to catch up to your body and get to a safe place to birth your beautiful baby. Contractions that allow you enough time to call your husband and doula. I want you to look back on your birth and feel like you accomplished all of your goals and empowered your body to handle your birth with grace and dignity.    

Again, I don't tell you all this to scare you but to educate you. I want you to understand that the end of your pregnancy is giving you the most amazing gift you will ever receive. You have worked so hard for 9 months so wishing for a fast, easy, quick delivery may not be what you think. Rather, take the labor pains as a sign of bringing real life into this world and acknowledging you are about to be the most amazing mother and your life is forever changed for the better.

Women are strong and fierce and no matter what type of birth you have, you are stronger for it. You are a mother with passion and love. You are beautiful and capable of anything. 

Ashley Wain