Every woman is different and therefore every individual pregnancy is different. High Desert women will find that their labor and delivery experience is uniquely their own, and there are two different types of labor experiences that women may endure. At Reza Ahmadinia OBGYN, we believe that our Apple Valley patients should understand the difference between prolonged labor and rapid labor. This will help them make the best decisions for their own health and their baby’s health during the labor process.

What is Rapid Labor?

The average labor experience lasts anywhere from 6 to 18 hours, but rapid labor will last for only 3 to 5 hours. While this may seem desirable to many women, it’s important to understand that there are risks associated with this type of labor. A woman who has had rapid labor experiences in the past is likely to experience it again in the future. Rapid labor is typically caused by having an extremely efficient uterus, by having a smaller than average baby, or by having a birth canal that is compliant with the birthing process.

Women will know they are in rapid labor if they are having contractions that come one on top of the other with little breaks, and if they get the urge to bear down within a couple of hours after labor begins. Rapid labor can begin suddenly, and can be both emotionally and physically challenging for the mother. It increases the risk of delivering in an unexpected location.

What is Prolonged Labor?

Prolonged labor is defined as a labor that lasts for more than 20 hours for a first-time mother, or more than 14 hours for a mother who has previously had children. It can take place during the early stages of labor, or during the active stage. Prolonged labor during the active stage is most concerning for an OB/GYN, and can increase the risk of requiring cesarean sections. Prolonged labor can be caused by a larger than average baby, or by the fact that the woman’s pelvis and birth canal is too small. Stress, worry and fear can also keep a labor from progressing. Women are encouraged to relax, walk, and change positions if they are experiencing this type of labor.

There is no way to tell what type of labor a woman will have prior to its onset. Women can discuss their medical history and any previous delivery experiences with Dr. Ahmadinia in order to best prepare for labor. Women are encouraged to create a birth plan in order to put their desires and goals for labor into action. However, it’s essential to be flexible and understand that unexpected things can happen during the process. Dr. Ahmadinia welcomes women to discuss the labor and delivery experience during routine prenatal appointments throughout pregnancy.