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Pink Sugar

Relax and enjoy!

How long does labour last?

As a birth worker, one of the most common questions I hear from expectant parents is about how long labour lasts. It's a valid question, and one that many people understandably want a clear answer to. However, the truth is that how labour lasts varies greatly from person to person. 

How long labour lasts can be influenced by various factors, including your general health and strength, the position of the baby, and whether it's a first or subsequent birth. On average, labour lasts for around 12 to 18 hours for first-time births, but it can be much shorter or longer depending on the individual circumstances.  

woman in labour at home

It's important to remember that labour shouldn’t be rushed or forced. Labour is a natural process that your body knows how to do, and it's essential to allow it to progress in its own time. Trying to speed up labour artificially can lead to complications and unnecessary interventions, so it's crucial to let things unfold naturally. 

In some cases, labour lasts for only a few hours, while in others, it can last for several days. It's important to stay patient and trust in your body's ability to give birth. If you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed about the length of your labour, remember there are techniques which can help.

Read HERE about using a labour comb

One key factor that can influence how long labour lasts is the position of the baby. Babies that are in the optimal position for birth, are more likely to descend smoothly through the birth canal, making labour progress more quickly. However, babies who are in more of a ‘wonky’ position perhaps, may take longer to descend and can make labour last longer. Movement and gravity can really help.

Read HERE about birth positions

woman in labour in hospital

Something else to consider is the support you have during labour. Having a knowledgeable and caring birth partner, and using hypnobirthing techniques (read about Hypnobirthing) can make a significant difference in how long labour lasts. Having people there who help you stay calm, focused, and relaxed, can help labour progress more smoothly. 

Remember, also, that some interventions, such as epidurals or synthetic oxytocin, can impact how long labour lasts. These interventions can sometimes speed up the process, but they can also lead to an increased likelihood of further interventions and complications. It's crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits of interventions with your midwife and make an informed decision based on your individual needs and preferences. 

Overall, while it's natural to wonder how long labour lasts, it's essential to remember that labour is a unique and individual experience for everyone. Trust in your body's ability to give birth, use movement and relaxation to help you, and get yourself in a ‘safe’ space. Remember, labour lasts as long as it needs to, and you’ve got this! 

If you are ready to get prepared, and are ready for a positive birth experience, get in touch with me for a friendly chat HERE and check out my hypnobirthing courses HERE.


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