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How long does labour take

Everybody wants to know how long labour will last. The answer is maybe around 20 hours. But it can be shorter. Or longer.

Everyone wonders how long labour will last. The answer is: in most cases, it takes longer than you expected.

Impossible to say
But the truth is that it’s impossible to say how long labour will last.
For first-time mothers it usually takes between nine and 15 hours for the cervix to dilate fully (10 centimetres). The first five centimetres take the longest. You can definitely count on two hours per centimetre for the first five centimetres if you’re a first-time mum. The second and third time round, it might take less time because your body has done it before.

Pushing and birth
After the cervix has dilated, the next stage is pushing and birth. This stage usually takes two to three hours, but it’s highly individual.Fast or slow labours can run in the family. Check with the grandparents-to-be. That might give you a clue about what to expect.
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