How to prepare for a very fast labour (precipitate labour)

Something that comes up occasionally on our courses (usually amongst second time parents who have experienced it before) is ‘fast labours’.. also known as ‘precipitate labour’.. we often think of labour as a gradual build up, potentially stop/start or irregular in the beginning, and a lot of what we prepare for are tools that will help us manage the sensations of birth for a long period of time- but occasionally (for about 2% of women) labour can be very quick! That might sound like the dream scenario, but this can be overwhelming or frightening for many women. So if you had a quick labour last time, what can you do second time round to prepare for what may potentially be another speedy arrival? If you’re expecting your first baby and you find Labour intensifies quickly, what can you do to make it positive?

  • Consider a home birth. The safest place for a ‘low risk’ second time mum to give birth is at home (Also a safe choice for first time mums), this May alleviate any concerns about being stuck in the car or corridor and give you a calmer, more relaxed experience.

  • Practice hypnobirthing, and focus on releasing any fears about the speed or place of birth. This will also give you some go to pain reliving, breathing and relaxation techniques to use right from the get go!

  • Be practical.. have a list of important numbers by the phone, have a local ‘back up’ birth partner to join you if your planned birth partner can’t, have childcare ready to go if needbe, have bags in the car and know the quickest route to hospital etc!

  • Keep in touch with your midwife. If you’ve had a fast labour before, let them know when you speak on the phone. If you have any concerns or questions when you’re in labour, ALWAYS just phone and ask! They are more than happy to talk you through the best plan of action when you’re in labour.

  • Induction of labour isn’t recommended to avoid a precipitate labour.