33 answers

How Fast Will Labor for 2Nd Baby Be Compared to 1St?

Is it true that the 2nd baby comes much faster than the 1st? I think I got to the hospital too early the 1st time and want to wait longer on the 2nd, but not sure if that would be a good idea. Also, when someone asks how long you were in labor, when do you start counting? When contractions are 5 min apart? if so, that was about 11 hours for my 1st; 1.5 hrs of it pushing.
I'd love to hear your experiences or recommendations. I am currently 34 weeks prego and have a 6 hour car trip scheduled in 2 weeks (don't want to deliver on the road!).

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So What Happened?™

I did not go on the car trip (my sister came to visit me instead). My baby was born 1 week early. Contractions started at 3pm, got serious at 9 or 10 pm and she was born just after midnight. The "push" phase was just 10 minutes (!) so definitely faster than the first baby.

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Every birth and baby is different. My first and second were the same amount of time, and my third ended in an emergency c-section. Good Luck!

For me it was very quick. I think I pushed two or three times and the baby was out. Very easy. Almost too quick because I feel like it should have been longer to be more memorable. Weird, huh!

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Hi K.!!

Thanks for asking this question. I've been wondering the same thing. The thing is..now I'm scared..LOL. I'm pregnant with my second and due April 2nd. I usually count the length of my labor with my first, from the first contraction that I felt, which was 36 hours..start to finish. But after reading some of the posts I realized that if I count from when I was in active labor or when I was actually kept in the hospital, then it is less than 5 hours with about 10 minutes of pushing. My midwife told me that I almost went faster than one of her patients who had already had 2 children and she told me that when I have my second child, I better get to the hospital fast.

Now I'm afraid that I'll end up having her on the way to the hosptial..lol..Guess we'll see.


1 mom found this helpful

We wanted to wait as long as possible before going to the hospital too. Less poking & prodding and interventions that way for sure! HOWEVER, the first one I went to the hospital thinking I was far along in labor only to be told to go home as I was only at 2cm. Went home and labored all thru the night, went back to hosp and I was at 8cm or so. Just progressed very naturally but slowly! The second one I went thru transition in the car on the way to the hosp. and when checked I was already at 10cm ready to push. For me, I waited until the contractions were about 4 min apart and consistent, that's when my DR said to come NO LATER than that but when I hit that point it progressed REALLY FAST after that and I really waited too long. My Dr had to be called last minute (she wasn't happy w/ me! :-))and I had to hold off on pushing 3 times before she got there. SO I guess you could say for me the second one was definitely faster!! :-) That's what I've heard from everyone too. If you are considering a natural childbirth (no drugs) by any chance - which I did, It is FAR EASIER the 2nd time around (at least in my case) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

HI K.,

I think it also depends on the size of the baby, my 3rd baby (which was actually my 2nd vaginal birth, my first was a c-section) was 9 lbs 4 oz, so she took as long for me to have as my 2nd which was 8 lbs, my labors were about the same time in length! Also I hear and at least with my experience each baby gets a little bigger! I would just map out where the hospitals are along your road trip..just in case, for you peace of mind too! Good luck with your new baby!

take care....M.

1 mom found this helpful

My second was faster than the first. The first was about 12 hours (from when I entered the hospital). His head was too big and it took alot longer than expected; about 2 hours pushing. The second one was about ....... Oh my, I don't remember! It was much quicker, though. I do know that they could have filmed me. Three hee's and a who, push, push and baby! However, my first one was two weeks before the due date and the second one was a week after the due date.

Good luck with your growing family!

Hi K.,

For me, yes, the 2nd time around came really fast. I've heard it usually come fast the second time, but I was really surprised at how fast! My first child, I had the contraction around 7 p.m., but I didn't go into the hospital until the next morning. My labor was 7 minutes apart when we left the house at 6:30 a.m. the next day and I was dilating at 3 cm and was able to receive the epidural right away. I wasn't fully dilated until 7 that evening, but due to complication, I ended up with an emergency C-section.

My second child, I felt the contraction around midnight, but decided to wait a little bit longer. Around 3:30 a.m., that was when I went into labor with 5 minutes apart. I called my brother, who is a doctor and he told me to get to the hospital right away. My second son was borned at 6 a.m., 2 hours after I went into labor. He came a day earlier then my scheduled C-section, so yes, I was surprised at how fast the second one came.

Good luck to you.

My four went from 23 hours to 12 hours to 8 to 4, so they do seem to go down in time but it really is hard to gauge. I started counting when they were just consistent, more like 7 or 8 minutes apart.My second was face up and had the cord around his neck so maybe it would have been much faster if under different circumstances. You never can tell. 6 hours is a long trip for a pregnant person. Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

For me labor got shorter for every subsequent baby. My first baby was born 8 hours after contractions started. Our second son was born 6 hours after contractions started and baby number 3 was here after only 5 hours! It took me longer with our last son because I had a water birth at home and being in the water slowed down contractions considerably.

The time between I felt like it's time to go to the hospital and giving birth however got shorter every time too, so baby number 3 was almost born in the car (and we only had a 10 minute ride to the hospital).

I did only push 3 or 4 times for each of my babies, so I can't tell you anything about that.

Good luck to you.

My 1st- 7 hrs
2nd- 3.5 hrs
3rd- 4 hrs
4th- 4 hrs
Regular contractions for me was 10 min apart and increasing in severity. I never had braxton hicks contractions, if I went into labor it was real and fast. I'd check with your dr before going on your trip.

My second labor (child) was 11 years apart and was harder then my first. It lasted about the same amount of time. Everone is different. Because yours are close together (compared to mine) I'd say look for about the same, to less. My contractions were irregular with my second and clockwork with my first. So, I'd say get there when you feel it's right and try to get thru it the best you can.

2nd babies typically come faster than the first. I have attended the births of over 350 babies and have had several clients have their 2nd baby in less than 2 hours from the first contraction or first sign of labor! My daughter's first labor was 14 hours and her second was 1 hour and 44 minutes from the first contraction!

Before you leave for your trip, you might want to read about emergency birth procedures, map out hospitals along your route, and practice making loud birth noises with your daughter -- I always suggest that my 2nd time moms make a game of making funny and loud birth noises with their toddler because when the birth goes quickly, as if often does with a 2nd baby, the toddler is very likely to be there for the whole thing!

Good luck and happy birthing :)

For me it was very quick. I think I pushed two or three times and the baby was out. Very easy. Almost too quick because I feel like it should have been longer to be more memorable. Weird, huh!

From the time my water broke, my first labor was about 6 hours and my second was about 4 hours total. With my first labor, I seemed to progress quickly to 5 centimeters, but then slowed down to a centimeter an hour to 10 centimeters. With my second, it started out slowly but then I went from 3-10 cm. in less than 2 hours. With my first, I pushed for hours, but with my second, I pushed 4 times and he was out!

Unfortunately there is no way to tell for sure. My first was induced 3 days after her due date and weighed 9lbs 7oz. My doc was keeping an eye on me so I wouldn't have a 9 pounder again and he ended up inducing my second 2 1/2 weeks early and she was 7lbs. 12oz. My first was born 8 hours after induction and my second 11 hours after. I know "most often" subsequent babies come quicker but not enough to ablsolutely count on it. pay attention to your body you will probaly feel if things are moving more quickly and take plenty breaks to streatch on that long car ride you're taking! Have fun!

My 1st labor was about 24 hours from the 1st contraction to birth. the 2nd was induced from nothing-and that took about 8 hrs. the third was about 12 hrs from start to finish-I went into labor at Disneyland! Does your Dr know you plan a 6 hour car trip? I wouldn't go on that car trip If I were you.

That sure was not the case for me!! I started counting from the time my water broke. With my first daughter I was in labor for 14 hours and with my 2nd 22 hours!!!! I was on pitocin both times and I dont know how that effected the whole situation. But I only pushed for about 2-5 minutes with both of them. Its hard to tell with these little ones, they just come when they want to!! Best of luck!!

My first was 5 hours and my second was 7, so I wouldn't get your hopes up about the second being faster, although that is the norm. Go to the hospital when you feel comfortable. For me, that was when I couldn't walk or talk during contractions and my bloody show had arrived.

As for travelling, please consult your doctor. Mine grounded me at 34 weeks and said I couldn't be more than an hour from town. I was pretty grumpy at the time, but he was right. I was just too darn tired to travel and be comfortable!

Good luck!

Every birth and baby is different. My first and second were the same amount of time, and my third ended in an emergency c-section. Good Luck!

You start counting from your first contraction that you feel, no matter how far apart. I have fast labors. My first was about six hours and my second was three! By the time they checked me, I was already at 10 and ready to push. My third was about seven hours (he didn't find the button! haha). Expect the unexpected because with labor and birth you can't plan on anything! Good luck!

Well, there's no way to know for sure what's going to happen, but here was my experience. Baby number one - my water broke at midnight, after three hours of hard contractions two minutes apart I was dilated to 2. At 4am I got the epidural and napped through the day. He was born after one hour of pushing at 2:30pm the day before his due date. So total was 14 hours one day "early". Baby number two - Had been dilated to 3 for a week and having contractions throughout the day but stopped at night. Four days after my due date I woke up at midnight (again) with a HUGE contraction, told my husband it was TIME TO GO! 1:30am he's finally dressed and driving me to the hospital. Wait in ER, no beds available so they give me an extra bed just to be checked. My water breaks as I am climbing into the bed, it is now 2:15am - I am dilated to 8. 2:30am she is OUT with no time for any pain meds whatsoever and NO pushing - she just came flying out on her own (nurses were literally holding her in waiting for the doctor who didn't make it in time anyway). Total time 2 1/2 hours four days "late." I say just roll with it, but I would be pretty nervous about driving that far away that close to your due date - not only that, but how are you going to survive that drive? I would imagine you will be very uncomfortable (back pain, swollen feet....), you might want to rethink that if possible.

My first labor was 6 hours so I was expecting that my 2nd would be pretty quick. You can imagine my surprise when it took me over 11 hours to push my second little cutie out! I waited quite a bit longer than most to have my second, (13 yrs) and figure that's why it took so darned long. Odds are that your's will go quicker! :)

All 3 of my kids were 12 hours of labor. I wish they always came quicker!

1st one was 7.5 hours. 2nd was 1 hour 51 minutes.

My first daughter was born a week early and all of my sisters and mom went into labor at least 2 weeks early with their babies. Everyone kept telling me that I'd go into labor with my 2nd daughter early, so I was very surprised and anxious when I went past my due date with her. I was induced 3 days after the due date, so I'm not sure how long the actual labor would have been otherwise, but I'd suggest not expecting anything or you might end up being disappointed. Anything can happen! Congratulations and have a nice trip!

no way of knowing this..... My first was induced 12 hours, my second naturally 16 hours.
good luck!

Well my second came a lot faster and unexpected than the first. the midwife said lots of woman wait till they feel the same as the first, but it is always different, my second came fast and they were immediately 5 min apart and luckily dad told me to call just to make sure and by the time the midwife came I was glad. I would of never had made it anywhere. Be safe and it is better to go early.

Yes, labor and delivery comes faster with you second child. I have given birth to 7 children and they all came faster than the last. With my first child, I was in labor for 18 hours. The second about 15, the third was less than 12. This was from beginning to end. I hopes this helps.


I was in labor for 14 hours with my first & less than 1 hour with my second...so fast the delivery was at home, or I would have delivered on the road to the hospital! We joke that if we have a third I'll live at the hospital for the final 3 weeks at least! I would be pretty nervous taking a car ride of that length. Good luck!

Hi K.,
I am a birth doula and childbirth educator, and I can help answer your questions. On average 2nd labors do tend to go faster than the first. Generally they go in half the time as the first, but there are always the exceptions to the rule. My first labor was 17 hours long, and my second was 3 1/2 hours and I barely made it to the hospital. Seriously, the baby was crowning by the time I got there. ooops! :-) I also have a friend who had a long first labor, and her second came in 3 hours, very fast. Be prepared, and possibly take a refresher course of childbirth, so you can be prepared by the signs. Keep in mind that your body now has done this before, so it can open faster, and you should have a much easier time pushing, if you go natural. If you have an epidural, that can prolong labor and pushing and you may go longer.
About when to go to the hospital, it can depend on how far you live from the hospital. If you are still happy and chatty between contractions, it is probably too early to go. Once your husband sees you become more serious between contractions, and you can not talk through them any more, then it may be time. Please keep in mind that every labor is different, and you may go super fast like me, or you may go slower than your first. Listen to your body, and trust your instinct.
As far as how long you are in labor, the medical world will start when you have reached active labor, which is 4cm. But, I always counted from when I felt the first contractions, and knew I was in labor. Keep in mind you want to count the contractions from the begining of one to the begining of the next one. That is how far apart they are. then you also want to count how long they are by timing the begining of one to the end of the same one. When your contractions are 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 45-60 seconds, that is generally when you will be in ative labor (4-6cm), but keep in mind every labor is different, and they can be unpredictable.
As far as your trip, you should be okay, as long as you have had no complications. By the time you go you should be only 36 weeks, and we don't want you to go into labor then. Anything before 37 weeks is considered pre-term labor. If, once you are traveling, your water breaks, or you start to have contractions that progress to being longer, stronger, and closer together, find a hospital quickly. Usually, unless there are problems, women don't tend to go into labor until sometime between 37-42 weeks. The due date can be off by 2 weeks either way, as it is just an estimate.
Good luck, and I hope you have a very happy and healthy labor and birth! :-)

Oh, don't wait K.! I had my first baby in 7 hrs, and the second one came in 2.30 hrs. That is 45 min.s after we arrived the hospital and without any epidural.... Oooh, it was painful! If I ever have a third one, I'll be camping in front of the hospital past 36 weeks:)

I have heared it said that the 2nd is faster than the 1st. In my case it was way true. My 1st took about 8 hrs. from first contraction to being out. My second, way faster- he only gave us about 4 hours.(we had a 30 minute drive to the hospital, by the time we left- i felt like pushing. He was born as soon as I got in the hospital bed!! Then along came the surprise(#3). The 3rd one was 1 month early, and due to trying to stop labor, she took 27 hours start to finish. The unexpected can happen but I would be prepared for a shorter delivery just in case.

First of all, let me say congratulations! That being said, there's really no way to tell, but don't ever be embarrassed to be at the hospital too early. I waited for my second for the same reason you're saying and I barely made it to the hospital. He was born only 8 minutes after I got there and that was only because I was killing myself not to push. He could have easily been born in the car on the way there. Obviously we had no time for an epidural or pain meds or anything. They weren't even able to get a line in me. My recommendation. Don't wait. The minute you feel a contraction, pack up your stuff and go. Better to be in a controlled environment than not. Good luck to you.

I was specifically told that it can take longer because your body is already used to having been in labor. I started dialating sooner with my second, but I think labor was about the same if not a little longer with my second.
With my first one my water never actually broke. I ended up at the hospital by 11am with contractions that were 3 min apart. (I was trying to finish breakfast at IHOP before going to my surprise baby shower.) I had her by 7:31pm.
With my second one my water broke at about 8:30am and I waited to go to the hospital because I wasn't feeling any pains yet. Ended up getting something to eat and got to the hospital at about 11:30am and didn't have my son til about 8:03pm. He was stubborn though. My daughter had a big head; my son just wasn't wanting to come out.
They were both 1 week early.
Congratulations!! I made a trip as well @ 36 weeks. Just make a couple of extra stops so that you can get out and stretch.

From what I've read, every single labor/child delivered is different and you cannot really know ahead of time what to expect. In two weeks you'll be 36 weeks so if you go on the long car ride, make sure you know where the hospitals are along the way. I've had three kids. The first two were 6 hours and 4 hours. The thrid was induced and took 36 hours from start to finish. My last one is due any minute and I'm having a C-section this time. Good luck.

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