Birth Stories

Question about labor length

How do you measure how long someone was in labor?

For example, I was in triage at 3 cm for a couple of hours before they officially admitted me at 4 cm.  From the point at which I was admitted to the point at which I gave birth, 9.5 hours elapsed.

However, prior to being admitted at the hospital, I had been having regular contractions for 7 hours and irregular contractions for 13 hours before that.

If I count from the point at which the contractions started, I was in labor for 29.5 hours.  If I count from the point at which I started having regular contractions that grew closer together, I was in labor for 16.5 hours.  If I could from the point at which I reached 4 cm and was officially admitted to the hospital, I was in labor for 9.5 hours.  Which is it?

I'm just curious because people have asked me how long my labor was and I really wasn't sure what to tell them.  Thanks!

natural m/c 7.1.10 :|: sticky baby 4.25.11 :|: #2 due 5.18.13 BabyFruit Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

Re: Question about labor length

  • I always wonder this too....I was having regular, steady, painful contractions for 4 days with DD. Got admitted on day 5 at 1 cm, had her about 20 hours later.  In total from contraction #1 to delivery it was over 100 hours which is crazy  Stick out tongue  Even when I was admitted I didn't meet the criteria for 'active' labor since I was only 1 cm but it sure was 'labor' to me.

    DS it was much easier to define, contractions and bloody show hit, baby showed up a few hours later.

    I usually go by how long I was in the hospital, but I do hold the right to tell DD she was stubborn from before she was born  Stick out tongue

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  • Good question. I had an induction so I just go with my induction length since I hadn't started laboring at all on my own.

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  • image renc9828:

    Good question. I had an induction so I just go with my induction length since I hadn't started laboring at all on my own.

    I do this too, but I'm still confused sometimes because I had pitocin started at 10pm but didn't have any painful contractions till maybe 1am or so. If I count from the start of the induction it was 7 hours but from the start of hard labor it was more like 4.

  • I think it'll vary from person to person. For me, I count from first timeable, fairly regular, and uncomfortable contraction. With #1 I woke from a contraction at 5 am on Saturday morning and spent that whole day contracting fairly regularly and painfully. I was admitted to the birth center around 10 pm that night and DS was born at 11:05 Sunday morning, so I count my labor as 30 hours (I had been cramping on the friday too, but dont count that since it was irregular and only mildly uncomfortable). 

    I think no matter what I wouldn't count labor from the time you're admitted, because obviously some people labor at home for a long time.  

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  • when you have regular mild contractions for days, that is prodromal labor. id count labor from the time your water broke or regular painful contractions began.

    7 Angels in Heaven, 1 In My Arms

    12/24/07 D&C (12 weeks)
    2/08 MC (5 weeks)
    5/08 PA (7 weeks)
    9/08 VTS (6 weeks)
    7/09 MC (5 weeks)
    8/10 MC (UKN)
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