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Long latent phase... short labour??

(11 Posts)
slugsonmypeasgrr Wed 22-May-13 13:30:24

Hi i am desperately clutching at straws here. Have been contracting on and off for nearly 3 weeks (yes people!!). Some days incredibly wearing and in quite a lot of pain (not established labour pain - I do remember that from last time!), waking up in the night with contractions i really have to breathe through etc. I am just hoping beyond hope that this all means I'll have a lovely quick labour when things do finally get going (am 38+5 today, hoping I don't have to wait until 41+6 for the real thing!). So my question is, if you had a long latent phase did you have a lovely quick labour? Was it clear to you when you actually were in labour vs the latent part? Having a HB if all ok so not worried about getting to the hospital but will feel thoroughly cheated if we don't get the pool up in time for my water birth!

CallTheDoula Wed 22-May-13 15:44:12

Some women report easier, shorter labours following long latent phase. It's frustrating but worth remembering that it's not in vain - your body's getting ready for the big day, conditioning your uterus, cervix getting into the right position & softening. As regards knowing when labour's really progressing, what you're looking for is longer, stronger contractions (they'll start to really take up all of your attention so that you have to stop what you're doing for a minute to focus) and coming closer together. In most cases they'll be well spaced apart for quite some time, so plenty of opportunity to get your pool up!

slugsonmypeasgrr Wed 22-May-13 19:19:55

Thanks! That does give me some hope!

suedehead Wed 22-May-13 21:17:33

Blimey - 3 weeks?!
My latent phase was about 5 days and I thought that was tough! When it actually came to the nitty gritty, I had a (pre-scheduled) sweep at 41+2, when the doctor reckoned I was actually about 2-3cm, at 1pm. Contractions really stepped up a gear - went home then back into hospital about midnight. DS born about 5am.

I realised after the sweep that it was a very different type of labour, but I found the long latent phase pretty tough. As a first time mum, I just thought that my body wasn't actually able to do it, so got upset as a result. No-one mentioned this 'long latent phase' thing to me until the midwife saw me when DS was about a week old proclaiming it to be 'quite common'. Helpful!

So, in all, 'proper' labour didn't feel particularly quick to me! And the 2nd stage of pushing was a good couple of hours. Hopefully you've done your time with your 3-weeks though... Good luck!

slugsonmypeasgrr Thu 23-May-13 08:15:44

Thanks suede head... This is my second first was very similar to what you describe but mw said second might be quicker?

cupcake78 Thu 23-May-13 08:19:57

You must be exhausted! I was 4 days day and night and slowed down when I was 4cm. Once my waters were broken it took 4-5 hrs till baby was born.

Can you not request some assistance? Can they not offer to break your waters and try and get things moving for you.

I hope it's not long now it seems very cruel to let you carry on without help.

RoomForALittleOne Thu 23-May-13 09:06:21

It probably depends on why you are having a long latent phase. If your baby isn't in a good position, you could be having lots of on-off contractions in an attempt to push the baby down and turn the baby. If that happens successfully then labour probably will be quite quick but if the baby stays in a less than optimal position, labour will be slower.

If you've had multiple babies in the past, weeks of latent phase can be common as the uterus is doing lots of toning up (I was told that my uterus will be saggy, like a balloon that has been blown up and allowed to go back down several times hmm). In this case, I would expect active labour to be pretty quick but again, your pelvis is more roomy so there is more chance of a baby not getting into a great position until labour gets going properly which could slow things down.

This pregnancy (DC4) and with DC3, I was treated for threatened pre-term labour and then had 'irritable uterus' contractions for weeks before true labour happened. Again, this isn't unusual. I had four weeks of it with DC3 then an active labour if 1h13min. I've had six weeks of it so far with DC4 but I'm only 33 weeks today so I hope it goes on for a while longer.

kalidasa Thu 23-May-13 09:09:32

I had a couple of weeks of on-off pains - sometimes just period pains, sometimes stronger cramps, coming quite regularly. Also lost my mucus plug thing (lovely!) towards the beginning of this period. Was really annoying as it went on for ages and I was so ready to get on with it. When labour began properly it was pretty obvious to be honest - stronger, more regular, and just felt different - the first "real" contraction woke me up and I immediately though "ah, here we go, this is different". Though I still gave it several hours before waking DH just in case it all went away again. I felt extremely zen for almost that whole 'latent' period, despite my absolute shocker of a pregnancy and being my first baby (so a bit anxious). The zen-ness more than anything else made me sure that things were going in the right direction, it was obviously 100% hormonal as I had nothing to feel zen about (was in a wheelchair by then and STILL throwing up!!). All the 'experienced' women who saw me in the last few days (e.g. my mum and my sister) said it was obvious it was going to be soon from my manner.

Anyway when it happened for real it wasn't super-fast but it was fairly efficient for a first baby. Hospital records only six hours of 'active' labour (from 5cm dilated I think), though the previous six hours (getting from 2-5) felt pretty active to me too. Pushing was pretty quick though - about 40 mins.

In the end I gave birth at 39+5 so didn't go over at least.

kalidasa Thu 23-May-13 09:12:47

Oh forgot to say - the midwife specifically mentioned that she thought if I had a second baby the labour would be on the quick side. Not sure exactly why she thought this though.

beckie90 Thu 23-May-13 09:34:51

My first was 4.5hrs so naturally I thought my second was going to fly out as everyone says seconds are quicker. My contractions with ds2 started on Sunday the 17th at lunch time, they was every 6 mins with constant period pain and backache, he arrived at lunch time on the 22nd, my contractions was constant the whole way through they gradually went to 5 mins then 2 mins. When he was born they realised he had been back to back and no one had realised before that xx

slugsonmypeasgrr Thu 23-May-13 14:02:46

Ah well I guess I will just have to wait and see! Only my second and so different to the first which was very much no twinges til labour... I saw midwife today who said baby is in great position and very low, must just be the way things are going this time around. She also said it might be the overcast weather making my uterus play up (??!!!) Anyway I'll try and be zen like kalidasa!!

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