Precipitous Labor: A Blessing and A Curse

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Precipitous Labor. Never heard of it??? Neither had I until recently when I was doing research for this post. AKA about a year after having my daughter. Apparently it isn’t something they write about in all the pregnancy books you read because it only occurs in about 3% of all labors. Precipitous labor is defined as a labor that last less than three hours from the time contractions start to the time of birth. Because there isn’t a lot of information out there talking about precipitous labor, it made me completely unprepared for mine.


My Precipitous Labor

When I tell other moms that my first labor was under three hours total I usually get eye rolls and comments like, “You are so lucky, mine was over 12 hours.” Was I lucky though? Yeah, maybe. Except because of such a short labor everything I had planned about my labor went out the door.

When I went into labor I was so ready for this baby to come! I had tried every trick on google the week before my due date. I had tried all natural medicines, pineapples, membrane sweeps, and yes, even castor oil. On the day of my due date I decided to try castor oil one more time. I was surprised nothing happened, so I decided to just go to bed and let the baby come when she’s ready.

As I was about to go to sleep, I heard a pop and felt a rush of liquid. I immediately woke my husband up and told him. Upon standing it was confirmed my water did break so we immediately started getting ready for the hospital. I was told to come in either if my water broke, or contractions were five minutes apart. When the contractions started they were already two minutes apart. I told my husband this isn’t right and we need to get to the hospital now!

He dropped me off up front and I went up to labor and awkwardly told them I was in labor. It was past 11pm on a Saturday night and pretty slow in the hospital. They took me back into the holding room and starting my in processing, which felt like forever because of how fast and furious the contractions were. They were getting closer and closer. I guess when you say your water broke they don’t believe you. Which I can understand. What they do is take a sample and send it to a lab to be tested. When they first checked me I was already dilated 6-7 centimeters. I felt like I was in the holding room forever waiting for the results to come back.


If you didn’t know, which I didn’t, having a baby makes you feel like you are going to poop. I didn’t know this, and don’t forget that I had taken castor oil a few hours before, so of course I kept asking to go to the bathroom but it was just the baby pushing down on whatever is down there. One of my biggest fears about labor was pooping while pushing. (Probably TMI but whatevs.)

When I finally got back to the room I asked about the epidural. You know I was damn ready for it! It was a huge let down when she said I couldn’t have one because I was progressing too fast. I was never one of those women who wanted to wait out the epidural to see if they can take the pain without it. I was always gung hoe for the epidural. I wanted it as soon as possible and because of this I never learned any pain management techniques, so I was lost and pretty pissed about the situation.

I finally spoke up about feeling like I have to go the bathroom and she decided to check me again. When she did, I was over nine centimeters and she told the other nurse to call the doctor and tell her to hurry because I was ready. They actually had me do special breathing techniques to keep me from pushing until the doctor got there. At this time I was in labor for about an hour and a half.

As soon as the doctor got there we started pushing. After about 45 minutes of pushing my beautiful baby was here. I have to hand it to the nurses because they really helped me through it and guided because I was not prepared for that kind of hard and fast labor. You usually push in sets of three but my contractions were so long that I pushed for five sets. I did have to apologize for all the cussing that came out between pushing. Never mad at them, I just get upset when things I plan don’t go how I wanted. So I was angry at the pain.


Possible Complications

Sounds like a pretty easy labor overall right??? Yes, maybe. But I think I was lucky. Some precipitous labors have complications both to the baby and to the mother. Trauma and low oxygen levels can affect the baby. Because labor is hard and fast you are at a higher risk of tearing or hemorrhaging. I did tear, an “almost 3rd degree tear” and let me tell you, it was anything but fun.

As I stated earlier, I was given no medicine at all. Some moms do not want any, and that is perfectly fine. I was not one of them. They couldn’t even give me mild medicine through the IV because of how fast the baby was coming and it was a risk that it would make her drowsy. There just really isn’t time to give you any medicine with a precipitous labor.

With a precipitous labor, your significant other might miss the birth. I was lucky that I went into labor on a weekend night. My husband is a pilot and I couldn’t imagine if he was out flying and they had to call him back. He would have definitely missed the birth of the baby.

The nurses were a great help and guided me through it. I could tell they were experienced and for that, I am very grateful. A precipitous labor moves a lot different than other labors. Its much faster than anyone anticipates. Typically the nurses aren’t allowed to “let” you push without the doctor there. Hence why they had me do breathing techniques to make me not push until the doctor got there. It was late at night so no doctors were at the hospital when I went in.

No one knows your body as well as you and when they had me push for the typical three rounds, I had to tell them I needed to keep pushing because the contraction wasn’t over. I ended up pushing for five rounds each contraction. Contractions with precipitous births are abnormally stronger and longer than with a typical birth.


My Next “Ideal” Birth

Overall I’m happy I got to experience a natural child birth. If I had the choice would I want to do it again? Uh, no. I would love to have a slower labor with an epidural so I can just relax for a bit and really take it all in. This is the main reason I want to be induced with my next, among other things. This might not be the most popular choice, but its mine as of now.

I’ve heard how each labor is faster and faster. This may be a myth, but it’s not a chance I want to take. We were lucky that my husbands job allowed him to be home each night and live in a small town where everything is close, including the hospital. Our next baby won’t be like this. Pilots are gone 2-3 weeks a month even when they aren’t deployed. I know they always say that it’s normal for a husband to miss at least one birth in the military, but I would much prefer to have him there. We will also be in Hawaii where there’s tons of traffic. The last thing I want is to have a baby in the car.

When we went into labor we had to get up and go so fast. I know it has to be even more hectic when you already have children. You have to set up childcare and get all their things ready as well. We won’t have family around to call and ask them to come over. It will most likely be a friend.

Of course these are all hopes. This isn’t guaranteed and we aren’t even pregnant with that next baby. It would have to be allowed by my doctor. I look at it as if I can have a set plan with a more laid back labor with less pain, then why not? Who knows I could get this wish and then not want it with the third baby. Only time will tell and we will just have to hope and see. Remember, it isn’t always about how you get there, but it’s about the package that comes after.

Baby Tori born 10/9/16 at 1:52 am.

Do you disagree? Was your induction hard? Let me know in the comments!



  1. Michelle

    November 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I never knew that there was a term for fast labors.

    I’ve got to admit, the idea of wanting a slow labor just baffles me. My longest was just about four hours and that was more than enough for me. I’ll take surviving the experience over stopping to enjoy it…but I also wanted to do it without an epidural, so maybe that makes a difference.

    1. admin

      November 27, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Yeah I think the epidural makes a difference. I know wanting to do it without pain meds def would want to make anyone have a fast labor. Who knows with my next I may change my mind haha

  2. Alexandra

    November 27, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Holy smokes. This is one of my biggest fears! I went to the hospital at the first signs of labor and even though I labored for 18 hours, I don’t regret it at all. Once my contractions got really strong, I was SO GLAD to already be checked in and in the hospital bed. You go girl!

  3. nbosken

    November 25, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Wow as someone who has never had children, this is interesting to read. I didn’t know that if you were too far along, an epidural wasn’t an option. My mom said that with me (I was her first), she liked the idea of going natural. However the pain was too much and everyone was like “Mary please take an epidural.” Hahaha so she did and she was glad.

  4. Hannah Marie

    November 24, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    That must have been tough, but worth it of course. I hope your next labor will be a better one.

  5. Jen Walker

    November 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    My nephew came into this world three months ago after 3 hours of labor, so I’m familiar with precipitous labor. It does sound like a blessing in some ways, but I can also see the flip side as well.

  6. Michelle Gwynn Jones

    November 24, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Its a shame you missed the epidural – it was wonderful. A friend’s water broke and she had the baby on the way to the hospital. The doctor tried to convince her she must have been in labor and didn’t realize it. How long she had been in labor wasn’t important, all that mattered was the baby was healthy, but to be treated like somehow she was making it up was so rude.

    1. admin

      November 25, 2017 at 11:23 am

      That sounds awful! I would be mad if the doctor tried to tell me about my labor haha. Glad they are doing well and it was successful

  7. Miranda-Anosa @AJD (@MyraBev)

    November 24, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Indeed you are such a lucky mommy. I heard so many labor stories and some took one day. You are so lucky to have your angel. Glad that you are normal delivery as well.

  8. Ashley Bass

    November 23, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Your baby is gorgeous and I love the Kangaroo care pic!!! Labor so quick sounds scary but Im glad you both made it through ok. Im sure the nurses have heard worse than the cussing you said u did LOL I know I said a ton of stuff Id be ashamed of saying now LOL

  9. Sondra Barker

    November 23, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Such a cute baby! Thank you for sharing your experiences so that others may make more informed decisions when it comes to their births.

    Sondra xx

  10. agentizerozerosetter

    November 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I have no kids yet, and omg, I can understand you the same! Your mind was prepared for a different labour! Happy all was ok, and congratulations, your baby is so precious!!!

  11. Terri Ramsey Beavers

    November 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Awww what a blessing that you had an easy labor. 2 of my kids were long labors, the first one I didn’t have meds by choice. The second one, I wanted them. And as quickly as I went into labor. But that labor was so fast, from the time my water broke until I got to the hospital, I was already pushing. She was born just as I was getting off the elevator. I finally had meds (spinal tap) for third labor.

    1. admin

      November 23, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Oh wow! What an experience! Did you actually get to a room when you had the baby or was it in the hallway?

  12. Chuck Vargas

    November 23, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Congratulations!! That’s a big blessing. God bless the baby and of course the whole family!!

    1. admin

      November 23, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Thanks you!

  13. Rosey

    November 23, 2017 at 4:43 am

    I had my second son in 19 minutes, by the time we got to the hospital. There was absolutely no time for anything, so I get you! I’m glad everything was perfect in the end for you. Nothing better than a sweet blessing to add to the family.

    1. admin

      November 23, 2017 at 7:58 am

      I couldn’t imagine 19 minutes! I don’t think the nurses were going fast enough at all for that!

  14. Heather

    November 22, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    I had a precipitous labor with my 3rd and it was the MOST painful experience of my life. All the pain of the longer labor, just all at once. No thank you! I will take my 23 hour induction, oxygen, epidural, and forecep delivery I had with my first 10 times over.

    1. admin

      November 23, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Haha I hope that’s my next experience. I’m grateful to experience it but wouldn’t want to do it again.

  15. irishred13

    November 22, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I never knew it had a name! My labors seemed quick but not quite that quick. Your baby is adorable 🙂

  16. Amber

    November 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    What a precious baby! My labor did take a while and I had the epidural. No way could I do it natural.

  17. Sarah Bailey

    November 22, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I have to admit I’ve not heard of precipitous labour before but I bet after reading this it can be so hard on you as while it’s good it’s over, it isn’t what you prepared for, it wasn’t what you have psyched yourself up for.

  18. Parenting Patch (@ParentingPatch)

    November 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    My second labor was super fast! My second-born arrived in just two and a half hours. My first was 4.5 hours. My third was 7 hours because of a posterior position. All three were born at home.

  19. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    November 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    If I ever get pregnant, I would love for my labor to be precipitous!! If the baby would just shoot right outta me, that’d be great – LOL!

  20. Utkarsh

    November 22, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I really appreciate the sacrifices made by the women for the society.
    P. s the bady is very cute.

  21. damondnollan

    November 22, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations on your birth! As I’m reading your story, I’m feeling (as much as a man can feel) your pain and urge to use the restroom. Glad everything worked out for you in the end and wish you the best on your next experience.

  22. Dianne

    November 22, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Oh my goodness! Your baby is adorable! I’ve never had kids, but my goodness, this sounds scary. Thankfully, you and the baby are okay! I hope you get an epidural next time around! Also, thank your husband for me please for his service! Thank you too for your sacrifices at home!

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