Now for the good news: the majority of second and subsequent labours are much quicker than the first! This only applies if you have had a previous vaginal birth, as it’s this process that makes subsequent labours generally quicker and easier.
This doesn’t apply if you have only had a caesarean in the past, but try not to worry about this. 75% of women who needed a planned caesarean (for reasons such as breech presentation) in their first pregnancy are able to have a successful vaginal birth in their next pregnancy. Find out more about vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).
In second and subsequent labours, your contractions often become stronger much more quickly, and are generally much shorter too. The second stage of labour (pushing and birthing your baby) is also generally shorter. Women who have had difficult first labours often say they are amazed by how quickly everything happened in their second labour.
Planning childcare for when you are in labour is important, and it’s best to do this far in advance of your due date. If you are having a homebirth, you might want your children to be there. If you are going into hospital, it’s a good idea to have a rota for 24-hour care.
Make sure that your transport is reliable and ready, like checking that your car is filled up with petrol. An extra ten minutes getting fuel can be too long second time around! If you plan to get a taxi, check with local firms that they are willing to transport women in labour.
If you feel you need more support with issues around your birth, talk to your team midwife or consultant. You can request referral to the Birth Choices Clinic at University Hospitals Dorset in Poole if you are unsure or concerned about any aspects of your birth. If you are planning a birth at Dorset County Hospital and feel you need to discuss your previous birth experience with a midwife, please ring 01305 254223.