Friday, February 20, 2009

When births are fast!

Whew! What an intense birth I attended this month! 2 hours from start to, well, baby! It reminded me of why I tell anyone I hear say "I hope my birth is soooo fast!" that "NO, they don't!".

Fast labors.. and births, also known as precipitous births, are nothing to look at lightly! While, yes, they are shorter, they are also tremendously intense. I mean, you're packing what is usually an 8-12 hour deal into, an hour or two. What if you packed all the energy and intensity of running a marathon into 10 seconds? Chances are you might be a bit overwhelmed!

Now, there is usually nothing wrong with a fast labor. In fact, it means things are working just exactly as they should. But, I find that most women are very overwhelmed and dazed by a fast birth, and that is not always a good thing.

I think a great length for a labor is that 8 hour mark. It allows you to work into labor quickly, but also adjust to labor's increasing intensity and emotional and physical demands, without tiring you out. That's not to say that a shorter or longer birth isn't equally as wonderful (because I've had a 25 hour labor and it was wonderful).

Of course, you can always go on hoping for a fast birth! Chances are it won't matter to you in the end anyway. :)


Anonymous said...

Great to read this. I had a precipitous labor (1 hr 17 minutes from 1st contaction to baby) and although it was spontaneous, I was left a bit dazed, and it is hard to find people who really understand why a rapid labor is not preferable!
maria, doula and perinatal counselor in Boston

Anonymous said...

I agree about the intense part! When you can't tell when one contraction ends and when the other begins it is VERY difficult if not down right impossible to breathe properly and manage the pain.
The question is, if one has more children, how do you deal with the intensity of a precipitous birth?

apmotz said...

Not all births follow the same pattern, although most do.

My biased advice would be to hire a midwife and stay home, but I know that not all women will do this.

I suppose it is important to know what to expect and to make sure that you have a good support system within a few minutes of you, ready and waiting.