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How long does labour last?

 
What to expect when it’s time for baby to make an appearance.
tiny toes
By Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24

After several months of pregnancy, most moms-to-be are eager to have their babies. As the big day approaches, you may be wondering about birth. Frequently asked questions are:
  • How long does labour last?
  • What are the different stages of labour?
  • What does labour feel like?
If you want to know about the 3 stages of labour, we’ve covered them in detail here:
Labour stories

One of the main challenges for mom and her birthing assistant, doula, doctor or midwife is that no two births are the same. We asked our Facebook friends how long their labour took, and got sixty replies- each one different:
  • “Went into labour @ 01:15 baby born 10 min l8er” Munira
  • “1h30! Water birth” Karabo
  • “My water broke at 18h50 and our little one was born at 20h35. Had pains from about 16h30 - so give or take 4 hours.” Natascha
  • “86 hours, completely natural and will do it again” Yvette
  • “Child1 - 6 hours, Child 2 - 4 hours. I DO realise how lucky I am. Short labours are SUPER intense though.” Julia
  • “9 hours it was hell” Zingisa
  • “In and out of labour for two weeks, had to endure a membrane sweep, induction, 14 hours of really bad pain and then an emergency c-section all thanks to the NHS in the UK. They only do c-sections if the baby is in serious trouble. We came within 5 minutes of losing my son” Kath
  • “3 hours, what a pleasure! Was a surprise at 3 weeks early!” Julie

There are lots of other responses on our Facebook page- why not head over and see what other moms experienced...

As for how labour feels, well, that’s an experience which varies, too, depending on your birth plan and the various options you have regarding pain management. It may help you to anticipate what to expect by watching one of our live birth videos:
Chat to your birth partner when drawing up a birth plan, and prepare yourself for the unexpected!

Why not follow Parent24 on Twitter or join in the conversation on Facebook

What is your biggest concern about labour and birth?
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