We’ve all heard stories about the baby born in the car, on the way to the hospital or born unassisted (unintentionally) at home.  We call it precipitous labor (a labor length of under three hours). While the intention of these couples  was to give birth in a hospital facility or planned home birth, the fact of the matter is that birth happens! I once heard Ina May Gaskin say at a birth conference, “Birth was made to work in case nobody is there.”

Although precipitous labors occur more frequently with subsequent births, the overall percentage of this happening to you is very LOW so no need to rush to the hospital at the sign of your first contraction.  Here are a few statistics I found from the CDC 2004 report. The overall percentage of labors, which were deemed Precipitous:

<3 hr: 2% overall

  .7% chance for first-time moms (primips)  to

  5% chance for 8th-time moms (multips)

In discussing this topic with my midwife friends, Ashley Guntkowsi, CNM and licensed midwife Amy Tinney here are the top six things to do in the rare case that a fast birth should happen to you.  I call it the 6 C’s:

1)  Calm yourself, breathe and stay put.  Don’t freak out, no need to ‘boil the water’.  Stay calm and take a few deep breaths.  Remind yourself your body was made to give birth.

2)  Call 9-1-1 for emergency paramedics or call your midwife if you had planned on a home birth. I personally do not recommend getting into the car to drive to the hospital under these circumstances.  It is wiser to stay put and let the professionals come to you rather than risk giving birth in transit.

3)  Catch the baby.  Lower […]