How long is labour?

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So how long is the average labour?

During the first stage of labour contractions make your cervix soften and gradually dilate. This is usually the longest stage of labour. Whilst it's tempting to count your labour from the very first twinge, which is why sometimes friend and family will say that their labour lasted three days, the midwife counts 'established labour' from when you're 4cm dilated and having regular contractions.

For a first time mum, from the start of established labour to being fully dilated usually takes, on average 8 - 12 hours. For a second or third pregnancy it can be a lot quicker.

The second stage, the 'pushing phase', for a first time mum lasts on average around 3 hours, but if you have already had a baby it can again be a lot quicker.

Baby is born at the end of this phase 👶

The third and final phase, when you deliver your placenta can take anything up to 1 hour, but you won't even notice because you'll have your beautiful new baby in your arms.