Why are delivery times so different in childbirth?

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  1. Mom Kat profile image70
    Mom Katposted 9 years ago

    Why are delivery times so different in childbirth?

    I've never really understood this one.  Can someone with medical experience please explain why some women have fast deliveries while others take a really long time? 
    I'm a petite person ~ 5'4" and 115 (non pregnant) which I've been pretty much my entire adult life.  I've given birth 6 times, all natural, vaginal deliveries with no drugs or anything.  My deliveries ranged from 2 hours to 4 hours in length.  What's up with people that take 12-24 hours for babies smaller than the ones I've had?  my kids ranged from 7lb 2oz up to 9lb 10oz.  So what's the deal?

  2. peeples profile image93
    peeplesposted 9 years ago

    Not a medical expert by far, just another mother. When you say 2-4 hours are you counting in minor labor contraction time such as that you had while still at home or pre water breaking? Going into labor counts from the start of contractions to delivery. With my second child My contractions started at 8am on the 27th, I went to the hospital at 3 am on the 28th and didn't deliver until 9am the same day. So 25  hours in total. All of my children weighed 6lb 3oz or less. The inside of every woman's body works different. Along with the activities they do that increase dialation which aids in speeding labor.

    1. Mom Kat profile image70
      Mom Katposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Total time: first contraction of minor to delivery - none of mine were over 4 hours.  Labor & pushing under 2 hours with all 6 of them.

    2. peeples profile image93
      peeplesposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Very fortunate. The shortest time I had was 6 hours and all of mine were natural as well.

  3. Mom Kat profile image70
    Mom Katposted 9 years ago

    First child: 7lb 2 oz. - first contraction at 10:30pm - birth at 2:05am (3hrs. 35min)

    Second child: 7lb 4oz - water broke, waking me up at 7:00am - birth 8:15am... deliver was only 2 pushes. (1hr. 15min.) - but I could have just slept through some pre-water breaking contractions.

    Third child: 9lb. 6oz.  first contraction at 3:00pm - birth at 5:45pm (2hrs. 45min)

    Fourth child: 8lb 9oz first contraction at 6:30am - birth at 9:30am (3 hours) 

    Fifth child: 9lb 6oz. first contraction at 7:30am - birth at 11am (3hrs 30 min)

    Sixth child: 9lb 10oz first contraction at 11:30am - 3:30pm (4 hrs)

    I'm not trying to brag ~ just being specific & providing more information.

    I just don't understand why it's easier for some and more difficult for others.  After my 2nd I was always worried with the others that I wouldn't get to the hospital in time, since it was 30 minutes away from where we lived.

  4. Onlinemidwife profile image78
    Onlinemidwifeposted 9 years ago

    Great question, there are so many factors involved that can speed up or likewise slow down delivery of your baby

    1. If it is your first baby it is more likely to be a longer labour as your body has never laboured before, needless to say there are some women, including yourself and me that delivered your first baby within 4 hours, you are the more likely you are to deliver normally if you have looked after yourself prior to getting pregnant.

    2. Position of your baby -

    When you are in labour the baby can only come out vaginally in two ways with the head down, the majority of babies are positioned head down and tucked in so that when baby is delivered it is facing down and the head presses on the cervix evenly so that it dilates evenly.

    There are some babies who decide to come out facing up, which is called an 'OP Position' this means the baby's back is laying on your back, or a back labour. This is very difficult in labour as it is more painful for women and lengthens the labour further. The reason for this is that the head presses on the cervix but it may well be unevenly dilated, the presenting part of the head is coming down in a slightly wrong position causing the cervix not to dilate effectively, if the baby's head is positioned left or right the diameter of the head wont come through pelvis.
    Also how far engaged in the pelvis is a factor as a woman whose baby that is not engaged properly can go into labour but it may go on longer if the head is not descending onto the cervix.

    3. If you have had babies before vaginally you are more likely to have a quicker labour the next time around as your body has been through it all before.

    4. Position of the mother - if a woman keeps herself more upright in labour then gravity kicks in and  helps with the descent of the head.

    5. Strong regular contractions, lasting over a minute each and having 4-5 contractions in 10 mins - the force of the contractions should be strong enough to push baby down, if they are not regular then the baby is not going to descend into the pelvis the combination of these, the baby's position and descent of the head, the presenting part of the baby on the cervix and the mothers position are all factors in having a normal labour.

    Some types of pain relief can slow down or delay a labour such as an Epidural as it takes away the pain and the feeling of wanting to push, however there are times especially if you are having a back labour that an epidural can be beneficial.

    1. Mom Kat profile image70
      Mom Katposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Great information here, thank you.

  5. StandingJaguar profile image73
    StandingJaguarposted 9 years ago

    Never had a child, but I've done lots of reading as I might become a midwife. Ina May Gaskin, midwife extraordinaire, wrote a book titled "Spiritual Midwifery". A lot of her advice and the stories imply or say that the mental attitude of the mother plays a role in labor as well. If the woman is afraid or expects it to be painful, then it will be! Fear has a physical presence in the body that causes contractions to delay (you know, in case you need to run away from a sabertoothed tiger, or whatever).

    Gaskin instructs her mothers to focus on the "opening" aspect of labor, rather than the "contracting" aspect, and calls them "rushes", not "contractions." I think educating the mother on what to expect and what is natural, and changing the vocabulary accordingly can affect the mother's attitude, and thereby her labor. If the mother thinks, "This is normal, this is good, this is progress" instead of "OhMyGosh I'm in labor, this hurts, what do I do now?" then the mother can relax and labor will progress smoother.

    But this is from what I read... no experience whatsoever!!!


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