Q&A: Will My Second Labor Be Fasterand Easier?April C. Sanchez, M.D.
Q I have a two year old boy and I am pregnant again. I had quite an easy delivery although I was extremely afraid, it lasted 6 hours. I would like to know if second sons have more possibilities to be easier than the first and what are the chances to have a faster delivery than my first one. Thank you very much.
A For a typical woman, labor and delivery tend to be quicker for a second baby. Labor is divided into two phases, the latent phase and the active phase. The latent phase begins with the onset of regular uterine contractions. During this phase, the cervix softens and thins (effaces) in preparation for the active phase, but dilatation is usually slow. When a woman is pregnant for the first time, this phase can last up to 18 hours. When a woman has already had a baby, the latent phase is usually complete within 12 hours. Sometimes, cervical ripening can occur prior to the onset of labor and in these cases, the latent phase is usually shorter. Active labor is the phase in which there is more rapid cervical dilatation.
Active labor usually begins at about 4cm of dilatation. The average rate of dilatation is 1.2cm per hour for a first pregnancy and 1.5cm per hour in subsequent pregnancies. The first stage of active labor ends with complete dilatation of the cervix. The second stage involves the descent of the fetal head through the pelvis and delivery of the baby. It is during this stage that the patient begins to "push". On average, this lasts 1-2 hours for a first baby and less than an hour for others.
Keep in mind that these parameters are only averages based on many women in labor. It is possible that labor may be longer for your second child. No one can say for certain until you actually deliver the baby.
I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
April C. Sanchez, M.D.
Click here to Ask Dr. Sanchez your pregnancy questions.
Dr Sanchez lives with her husband and two boys ages 5 and 18 months in Mandeville, Louisinana. She is a Board Certified OBGYN with a dregree from Louisiana State University Medical School. She completed her residency through the Tulane University Medical School Residency Program. She also received a Surgical Excellence Award.
Total Woman Care
She is now practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology at Total Woman Care, in Manderville, Louisiana. The Total Woman Care website, (http://www.totalwomancare.com) is an "Advanced" Obstetrics and Gynecology Practice that cares and provides for the needs of women with total Compassion, Empathy, and Understanding. Dedicated to Provide Obstetrics and Gynecology Related Information for the Women of West St Tammany Parish.
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