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What do you count as your length of labour?

35 replies to this topic

#1 Rumply

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:24 AM

Sorry, title is a bit of a mouthful... what I mean is....

When did you count the start time of your labour and how long it went for?

I have always said approx 29 hours, I started contractions at 3am, then gave birth at 8am the following day. However, the midwife says it was only about 16 hours. I never had regular contractions, and when I saw the midwife at 8pm (the day they started), I was 6-7cm dialated. She decided that at about 4pm is when it would have really kicked in, because for a period the contractions were more regular than they had been all day, though they didn't stay like that after 4.  All I know, is that I was in varying degrees of pain for 29 hours...

Just curious more than anything. My new midwife said I should expect about half the time of the first one. So do I go by the 29 hours or the 16 hours? Not that it will really make a difference, as I think this will be a completely different experience to last time anyway.

#2 imamumto3

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:27 AM

I think the midwives count the start of labour as being when active labour starts, so regular contractions

#3 spersephone

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

Personally, from the first twinge that is clearly a contraction.  I realise that there are different stages of labour, but at the time, I couldn't tell which one I was in, I just knew I was having a baby.

#4 3_for_me

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:31 AM

When I was induced(by ARM only) with my third they weren't prepared to say I was in labour until regular contractions started.   My waters were broken at around 9am but I didn't start getting proper regular contractions until around 1pm from recollection.

#5 Bel Rowley

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:32 AM

I count from first contraction. Obviously if I'd had one contraction on its own, and not another for 12 hours, I wouldn't count it as labour having started. But with both of my labours, the first contraction was the start of regular contractions.

#6 mummygirl

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

For my first, it was counted from the regular contractions that I couldn't talk through. That was 22 hours.
For my 2nd, similar thing, toe curling contractions. That was 7 hours.
And for my 3rd, it was from when I called them from home till the birth. It was an hour and a half.

#7 Rumply

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:45 AM

Hmmm, now I remember getting very regular contractions when they popped my waters... they were on top of each other. So that would have been 2.5 hours. And about 2 hours of that was pushing type contractions (I had a lip and was told to wait another 30 mins of not pushing through these... ahhh the joy of it all!).

#8 niggles

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:49 AM

Both of my labours have started with irregular contractions up to 20 minutes apart so I take it from when they are regularly 10 minutes apart.

#9 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:56 AM

I think I've been in labour for a week already but I.m counting what I regard as pre labour cos I.m. Here for the first time and I've been in various states of paint throughout this pregnancy biggrin.gif

#10 roses99

Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

I count from the start of regular contractions. With my first, the first twinge was the first regular contraction and DS was born 2hrs 45 mins later.

With DD, I had period type pain after being induced, but nothing beyond that until the first real contraction kicked in about six hours later. Just like her brother, she was born 2hrs 45 mins after that.

#11 summer80

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

I count what I consider active labour - regular, painful contractions which, for me, kicked in straight after my water broke. So 3.5 hours approx.

I did have about 12 hours of pre-labour prior to that but as the contractions were irregular and not too painful (managed to sleep through some of it, do some shopping, go for a walk etc) I dont count it.

#12 Ireckon

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

Active labour - so regular contractions.

for #1, the very first contraction kickstarted them at 3 mintures apart. DD was born 3h40min after the first contraction.

#2, it was 8 hrs from first contraction, but only about 3 hours of active labour (which was about 45 of pushing)

#3 I was induced, about 8 hours from first contraction, but only 1 1/2 hrs of active labour

#13 Bluenomi

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:15 AM

My midwife asked if I wanted to put the start of labour from the time I arrived at the hospital or earlier. I went with the hospital arrival for the paperwork but still count it from when I woke up with the first contraction. I didn't have any pre labour and went from mild contractions to full on labour fairly quickly so it didn't make a huge lot of difference.

So from the very begining to birth was 11.5 hours but the hospital paperwork says about 6ish.

#14 Wigglemama

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:21 AM

Established labour is what is counted by midwives and obstetric staff, not pre labour, even though pre labour can be exhausting and painful. This is due to the pressure of having to intervene if you are not seen as "progressing" as you should, due to risk factors attached to a long labour, particularly PPH and fetal distress. I would be going with 16 hours.

#15 SoTired

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

From the moment I got my 1st contraction- 3 hours.
From the time of painful contractions- 3 hours!

For me there was no difference, my labour was 3 hours in total!

Ob says I must have been dilating for a while beforehand but just didnt feel it as I presented at the hospital 1.5 hours before DD birth fully dilated and I was ready to push well before that!

Most ob/midwives count it from being 6-7cm dilated and/or having regular, painful contractions.

That being said, I never had regular contractions at all.

Bit of a contentious issue I think, esp for those who are competitive and like telling people about their 30, 40, 50+ hour labours! Realistically, if you speak with a midwofe or ob, it may have only been less than 10 hours..

Buy Me A Pony !- You go girl! Best wishes for a brilliant birth!

#16 new~mum~reenie

Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:36 AM

I think it was recorded as starting at 7pm, as this was when I noticed the Braxton hicks were now regular at 5 min... They were a bit ouchie, but nothing to be overly bothered about.

They slowly increased and demanded more of my focus through the night, but still not 'full on'

For me, when it really hit and I knew it wasn't a drill, was when there was a sudden shift and a battering ram hit my cervix. I launched onto all fours, threw up, and really felt this was hard work! That happened at about 4.30am.

MW arrived at about 5am and I was 6-7 cms

DS was born 9.30...

Edited by new~mum~reenie, 04 April 2012 - 10:37 AM.

#17 PurpleNess

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:10 AM

I started from when it really kicked in, I'd say active labor. I felt my first crampy twinge at 7am & gave birth 6am the following morning, I certainly didn't count the whole day as I just got on with my normal routine until I was sure this was the real thing:-)

#18 MuppetGirl

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

Definitely only as "active labour" which is when the contractions are regular, bloody painful and I could barely breath through them. My MW wrote on my notes when my active labour started so DD was 17 hours and DS was 30 hours. Intervention was just about to happen with DS (even though he coped amazingly well with the long labour, no issues at all with his HR or anything) but as soon as they suggested it I had to push laughing2.gif I think it gave us the kick up the butt we needed!

I didn't labour naturally though, I was induced for both and it seemed to kick in, dilate and progress really quickly until active labour at which point progression was really slow and steady.

#19 Soontobegran

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:24 AM

Most mums take their first painful contraction as the beginning of labour but that is not the 'medical' definition of labour. sad.gif
It is from the onset of painful REGULAR contractions which does not include the pre labour that can go on for days and weeks.
The contraction pattern needs to be showing a reduction in the time between contractions and the length of the contraction.

Don't be disappointed if the length of labour recorded does not seem to match what you think, the staff all know that most people have already had some pretty uncomfortable contractions before you get yourself established.
It is common for a subsequent baby's labour to be about half the time of the first but that is 'established' labour according to the hospital notes.
Doesn't always happen that way of course.


Edited by soontobegran, 04 April 2012 - 11:25 AM.

#20 virtuallotus

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

From when regular, frequent contractions started. For my last kid, 'proper' contractions started at around 9am and I gave birth at around 11:20am. However, I had been having painful contractions the entire night before and napping between them (they ranged between 40-20 mintues apart). I didn't particularly want to go to hospital too early.

#21 BreezaH

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

Both my labours only ever had regular (every 2-3m from the get-go) contractions. First labour was waters breaking then contractions beginning immediately after at 1am, DS1 was born at 8.45am.

Second I had my first contraction at 6pm, waters broke as I arrived at hospital at 8pm and DS2 was born at 9.16pm.

#22 PurpleChicken

Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:43 AM

For me I count it from when they started the drip to induce me.   I know it took a while before regular, full-on contractions started, but I have no idea when that was.

So I'd say my labour was 8.5hrs, but if you asked a mid-wife, it would have been less than that.

#23 irises

Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

I asked the midwife this at my appointment on Monday actually.  As PPs have said, you count it from the time regular/painful contractions kick in i.e. active/established labour where there's no going back!

The midwife told me if you have to stop and hold on, and breathe through the contractions you're more likely to be in established labour. Another question they ask is 'Did you wake up your partner?' - if the answer's no then you're probably not in active labour!

So my first labour was only 5 hours, even though I experienced the first semi-painful tightenings the evening before, got a few hours sleep and then was timing regular tightenings throughout the night quietly in bed while my DP slept beside me. It wasn't til I got up at around 7am that things really ramped up, I threw up, contractions were very painful and happening more than every five minutes and we called the taxi original.gif

#24 CallMeFeral

Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:22 PM

I consider it to be when I started getting regular and painful contractions.

A midwife did tell me that I wasn't 'in labour' despite 24 hours of 5-minutely excruciating contractions, because I wasn't dilated yet - if she'd been closer I would have punched her.

#25 Freycha

Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

From the time my waters broke and i started having contractions was 66 hours, but the hosptial records take it from when you're around 5cms dialated and having regular contractions less than 5 mins apart, so that was around 15 hours. right from the get go my contractions would get to about 6-7mins apart, very painful and then just slow down out to about 15mins apart,and then start the process all over again...the midwives were very funny and kept on saying "don't worry love the second one will be much quicker!"

It is a bit disheartening when you think you'll be well into active labour and getting close to fully diallated only to find out you're 3-4cms. But as they say, good things come to those who wait rolleyes.gif

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