Oftentimes, when talking about labor we recognize the norm of a long labor. But we don’t always realize that there is another situation in which a baby comes quickly. This instance is known as precipitous birth.
Precipitous birth is defined as the birth of a baby within three to five hours (or less) from the start of contractions. While this may sound like a dream birth to some, it can often be quite terrifying, as contractions are usually more intense and efficient and many parents do not make it to the hospital in time. It is also a difficult time for processing, as parents often can’t make sense of what happened and go into a state of shock, prolonging recovery and affecting emotional well being.
This also calls into question whether or not your doula may make it to you. While it doesn’t happen often, sometimes we do not make it in time for a precipitous birth, as we do require a two-hour window to get to the client from the time we are called to their birth.
What happens if my doula doesn’t make it?
If your doula does not arrive to you in time for the birth of your baby, it can be unsettling, but rest assured there is still a lot we can do for you. Here are a few:
While there isn’t really anything a doula can do to lessen the possibility of this outcome, it is best to let your doula know if you have experienced precipitous birth in the past, so that we can prepare for the possibility. This is also why we encourage communication with us anytime there is a development or change, so we can talk about what time would be best to come and support you. The bottom line is, with precipitous birth, unpredictability can often take over, but no matter how it turns out, we are here to support you and process with you however you need.