A. Britton_0309_B&WThe length of labor can vary widely.  Many new parents are surprised to discover that their process may be over 30 hours long.  First babies are generally longer labors than subsequent deliveries.  An average first labor is 12-16 hours of active labor, generally meaning from 4 cm to birth.  It can sometimes take hours to reach the 4 cm mark.  While 12-16 hours may seem like a long time, it is usually not 12-16 hours of intense and difficult labor.  Often labor is “boring” in the early stages and a laboring woman has plenty of time between surges, or contractions, to visit or carry on her daily routine.  The most challenging part of labor, transition, is also usually the shortest part of labor, lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours or more.  Remember, anything is possible when it comes to labor and birth!  Some first-time moms will have a 2 hour labor, for others it may be 24 hours. This process often takes time.  Sometimes it is fast.  Trust it.

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