Precipitous Labour

I am one of the 2% of ladies that experience a precipitous labour. It’s not all that common & is rarely spoken about, especially by bloggers so I thought I’d share my experience with you all now it’s been 5 years (to the day!) since I became a mumma. The above picture was taken by a paramedic that arrived 20 minutes after she was born…I don’t remember it at all!


When I fell pregnant with Elsa back in 2012/13, I immersed myself into educating myself in anything & everything I could do when it comes to pregnancy, birth & babies. Being a young mum (I was 22 when I had Elsa & 24 when I had Rory) I suppose I had something to prove. I’d read forum after forum with advice & stories as well as speaking to friends/family & anything I could get my hands/eyes/ears round.

In the end, I knew everything I could have done about giving birth. Unfortunately it was one huge waste of time as my labour & both birth stories were totally unexpected & definitely not page book.

A precipitous labour is a birth which occurs in less than 3 hours from first contraction to delivery. Elsa was born in 40 minutes in our ensuite toilet with Mr THTMM delivering her/stopping her from falling head first down the toilet & Rory was born in a grand total of 6 minutes after being induced at hospital due to Elsa’s speedy entrance, in a toilet cubicle.

I never in a million years would have expected it to happen to me & to be honest, whenever I read stories such as my own in glossy gossip mags I thought what a load of rubbish it all was. How was that even possible?

Whenever I tell people my birth stories I’m met by looks of disbelief, amazement & more often than not shrieks of ‘well how LUCKY are you?’ closely followed by details of 3 day labours resulting in a C-section or similar.

I definitely wouldn’t call my births (or any birth for that matter…) easy or say that I was lucky to experience an extremely fast (yet furious) labour. Yes the amount of time I spent in pain was reduced considerably, but the level of pain I was in was absolutely astronomical.

Contractions are your bodies way of building yourself up through the pain thresholds to eventually push your baby out. I had 3 contractions with Elsa then was completely floored by an all consuming ravaging pain which I had no coping mechanism for. I begged Joe to kill me as it was the only way I could see out of it. With Rory I was hooked up to monitors measuring his heartbeat throughout the induction process, at 6.55pm my first contraction hit & from then until 6 minutes later at 7.01pm I was screaming, crying, begging & even literally trying to climb up the walls.

The only way I could describe it is never having heard of or seen a rollercoaster before & being put on one then catapulted around the track. Not knowing if it would stop or what was going on. I was absolutely petrified & even more so when pregnant with Rory as I knew what was coming for me plus the realisation that I could be anywhere & go into labour, even alone looking after 22 month old Elsa. Plus subsequent births are usually quicker.

Precipitous labour can also bring about many health implications for both mother & baby which I experienced more so with Elsa. Despite delivering her at home on our own, she was fine & shortly after let out the expected scream of protest every mother longs to hear. I however was in extreme shock, had haemorrhaged (which nobody picked up on until 3 days postpartum so I was rushed for several blood transfusions as my body was basically packing down) as well as suffered one of the worst tears the hospital had seen.

I’ve been very honest in the fact that I really struggled to bond with Elsa which I do put down to overwhelming shock of the birth & how poorly I was afterwards. I didn’t want to hold her or quite frankly have anything to do with her for a good few days at least & it wasn’t until she was around 6 months that I got the rush of love that I expected.

It was utterly terrifying & I was pretty traumatised by the experiences for quite a long time afterwards. In some ways I feel quite ‘robbed’ of the lovely water birth that I had in my head however one thing I’ve definitely learnt since becoming a mum is that the one thing we have no control over to an extent is our bodies & also births. So many people end up having to abandon their well thought out & intended birth plans to have medical interventions such as C-sections, forceps & so on as well as begging for all the drugs/medication the hospital can offer. But at the end of the day, as long as you & baby are healthy then none of it matters.

You can read the whole post of their births here (Elsa) & here (Rory) as well as a post I did ‘Why I Hate One Born Every Minute’ here.

Looking back 5 year on though, I can safely say that it was all so worth it & I wouldn’t change a thing. Isn’t it amazing how women forget about the pain & end up doing it all again!

I’d love to hear from anybody else that’s experienced super speedy labours – how does mine compare & what are your feelings towards it now further on down the line?



  1. Abigail Bird
    May 14, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Mine wasn’t as fast or dramatic I actually fell asleep at 5cms and woke up at 10cm! They didn’t believe I was in labour as I could speak normally, (working with customers had given me the ability to work through anyways) No medication other than to push, which was gas and air, as I was sick with every contraction other than when I slept as I was given anti sickness, but also experienced a very bad tear, took more gas for that than the baby! But they are all worth it! I love reading your blogs and your posts and taking so much inspiration for my baby’s first birthday which we are hoping to do a racing theme as his name is Morgan and we are going with the car theme 🙂

    Lots of love

  2. Holly
    May 14, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    Wow I had never heard of a birth so quick… sounds crazy!

    I got induced on the Friday, and then 17.5 hours later my first baby was born on the Saturday.

    I was admitted into hospital on the Wednesday and barely had any sleep (mainly from worry!) so by the time it got to the Friday, I was struggling. i had an epidural which beforehand I was totally against but my goodness aren’t I glad I had it! I also ended up needing forceps. It’s now 7 weeks later and I’m starting to feel more human, and not so much like I’ve been donkey punched in the vagina!

    Love Holly

  3. May 16, 2018 / 8:45 am

    This sounds very traumatic and also true that you hear about it and think that can’t be true!! It sounds like you are doing well now!
    My birth was pretty easy, but it was the after part that not many people talk about that I really struggled with and I didn’t feel supported in hospital.

    Kay xx

  4. Laura
    May 16, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    My labours weren’t as fast as yours, just under 5hrs from nothing and “yes my waters have gone but I feel nothing” to baby arriving. But totally agree with you on the “oh aren’t you lucky! First baby and so quick!” I felt total “wtf is going on-why are my contractions so close together?! This isn’t right!” Midwife in hospital didn’t believe me that I was that advanced “we’lo still be at in at 8am” that was 3am and first baby was born 45 mins later. I was totally shocked and dazed at the birth, and my first reaction was “thank god that’s over” and like you didn’t have that rush of love. Just sheer relief that the pain was over and I could sleep… Second baby was a planned homebirth. Due to quickness of labour and the horrible hospital experience (wasn’t that bad just really didn’t fancy being on a shared post natal ward again) the homebirth was text book, but again no immediate rush of love. I spent 2 hrs skin to skin trying to get him to latch on and by that point was exhausted. Handed him to my husband and fell asleep in the bath. My sister was looking after my 2 year old upstairs and my first words to her were “don’t do it. And if you do have a c-section!” 12 weeks later and that rush of love is there and some. It just wasn’t there straight away. I’ve figured that with me and babies it’s a slow burn love. Xxx

  5. Kayleigh
    May 17, 2018 / 11:10 am

    I didn’t realise but I had a precipitous Labour too then! Amelia-Jane was born at 7:40pm and my first contraction was about 5pm!! Knew it was quick but didn’t think I’d be classed in the same boat as yourself, with just minutes. xxx

  6. Amanda
    November 8, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    OMG I literally have similar labours to you! I get no build up, no gradual easing me into it no no for me one moment I was watching strictly and no sooner had the 2012 contestants danced the cha cha cha has I had my first “twinge” which was met by a second sledgehammer of a contraction and they didn’t let up.
    I made it to hospital but I couldn’t stop being sick as my body went into shock
    My doctor called it spontaneous labour
    My sons labour was even shorter but I was also induced and was in hospital.

  7. Karli
    August 9, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    I’m so glad you have written about your experience. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. My labour are short but extremely painful and see me lying in the fetal position each time unable to move.
    I recently had my fourth and my quickest labour yet. Each time my waters have been broken, from first contraction to birth the longest with my first was 4 hours and my last was just under an hr. I’ve torn each time due to the speed and last birth lost a fair amount of blood. I was so exhausted from the birth I could hardly hold my newborn!

  8. Sarah
    August 31, 2019 / 1:20 pm

    Mine are similar to yours. My first arrived 1hr 45min after my first contraction and I tore so badly I had to go to theatre. My second arrived 18mins after my first contraction. I have a small bump when pregnant so was in the hospital for a growth scan with my 2nd, and as his predicted birth weight was less than 6lb I was sent for a review by the Dr. They did an examination and found I was 5cm dilated (after I’d jokingly asked if they were going to check I wasn’t secretly in labour). The examination must have triggered my contractions and 18mins he arrived. I had no control over the pushing – it was like my body expelled him! And the pain!!! Gas and air doesn’t touch it, and I know the midwives wrote in my notes that I was thrashing around. My husband didn’t make the second ones birth (not that I’d have noticed if he was there or not).