What is Precipitous Labor?

What is Precipitous Labor?


We have covered back labor and prolonged labor in our previous posts, and we thought it was important to also touch on another type of labor, which is precipitous labor! When labor is super short or quick it is termed as precipitous labor.


What causes precipitous labor?


There is no recognized cause of this type of labor. In most cases, the cause remains unknown. However, some factors may predispose you to this type of labor.


Some of these factors include:


– Previous history of precipitous labor 

– Labor that is induced via prostaglandins

– History of having used drugs like cocaine

– Small baby

– History of previous natural births


Sometimes, you may not have any of these factors in your history, yet you still have this type of labor due to unknown causes.


What is considered a precipitous delivery?


Precipitous labor is when you give birth within 3 hours of when you begin having regular contractions.


Some healthcare providers may consider it precipitous labor if it lasts less than five hours.


Is precipitous labor high risk?


There are little to no downsides to having this type of labor. It generally means that your body is working very efficiently to have your baby.


Some complications that could arise from this type of labor include:


– Heavy postpartum bleeding since your uterus doesn’t have enough time to contract

Placental retention

– High-degree perineal tears

– Infection

– Maternal anxiety or emotional distress 

– Unplanned instrumentation

– No time to administer analgesia

What happens if I am having precipitous labor?


With this type of labor, you may not have time to get to the birth center. This is not a common situation, but if it happens you should call 911 first and then call us and we will talk you through every step and help you understand what is happening. 


If you want to understand more about the different types of labor or start your care with us, send us a message