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Is a Second Pregnancy Labor Faster?

Cocky Second Timers

I have to admit, I fell into the category of “cocky second timers”. I just coined that phrase. Like it?

A cocky second timer is a mother who is overconfident that her second birth will be shorter and easier than her first birth.

Doesn’t everybody say that to women with subsequent pregnancies?

“You know, your next baby will come much faster and will be easier.”

And a lot of the time, that’s true. But not always.

Is a second pregnancy labor faster than a first pregnancy labor? Here's my answer as a doula, childbirth educator and mom of three.

Is a Second Pregnancy Labor Faster?

A lot of the time since your body has already done it once, it seems to “remember” how to do it when you go into labor the 2nd/3rd/4th/etc. time. The non-first timer births I have attended were FAST.

Pre-labor seemed to dilly dally here and there for a day or so, and when real labor started it was crazy intense, blow your mind, fast, holy crap the baby is already here type labors.

However, from my perspective it looks like faster isn’t always easier.

Like I described above, fast labors are ridiculously intense. Your body is changing rapidly to birth your baby. Instead of slow, steady change and progress it’s like your baby is trying to qualify for NASCAR.

However, I say all of that but will tell you that all of my clients with the fast labors wouldn’t have it any other way. They are happy to “get it over with” quicker.

Is a second pregnancy labor faster than a first pregnancy labor? Here's my answer as a doula, childbirth educator and mom of three.

Doula-ing at a fast, intense second pregnancy labor.

Not Always Faster

Even though your body might know what to do, your baby might be posterior or in another funky position which can stall labor even with the mother who has already given birth.

I have heard lots of stories of how women had to labor and/or push longer with a subsequent child because baby wasn’t in the ideal position.

I have a friend whose first baby practically came out on his own, but her second took some convincing.

I am basically writing this blog post to myself, and not to lecture to you. (see my self-talk below)

“And the moral, Lindsey, is that a little bit of humility will go a long way. Your first birth was perfect – it was straightforward, super difficult, painful, ecstatic, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It was relatively quick, for a first timer at less than 12 hours, only 9 of them what I would call something I had to work through. Every birth is different, just as each baby and pregnancy is different. It will be in a different location, with different people on a different day. Anything is possible. Let go of your birth outcome, and once a again join me in the unknown. Prepare your mind to cope through the intensity and rawness of birth.”


My first birth was 12 hours.

My second birth was 8 hours.

My third birth? I don’t even know when to start the clock for that one. It was a hot mess.

Well is it?

Well… is a second pregnancy labor faster than the first?

Probably. But not always. 😉