The Fast and Furious: Precipitous Birth

Every one has a birth story...maybe it's theirs and maybe it's just one that they've heard once upon a time. Or maybe it's a video of a baby being born in a car on the way to the hospital.

That's right. I'm talking about faster than fast, precipitous birth.

So what does the term precipitous actually mean? Well in physical terms it means up on a precipice, extremely steep, and dangerous. As it relates to labour and birth, it means any type of leading to labour that may be considered exceptionally rapid or dangerous where there isn't enough time (technically, 3hrs from commencement of regular contractions) for things like comfort measures, changing positions or much else other than birthing your baby.

Sounds scary, right?

Well it can be, but with the right support and open communication with your care team, it doesn't have to be.

The best thing that you can do, since precipitous birth is completely unknown until it's happening, is to be an active participant in your care. Inform yourself of what birth and emergencies surrounding birth are so you're not caught off guard by medical terminology or chaos in your birth room.

If you feel like things are happening during labour maybe faster than you are prepared for, speak up. This is your body, birth and baby, so speak up and ask questions.

And have a backup plan. In the event that you're overwhelmed by what is going on in the birthing room, have someone there to ask you questions  and say things like ....

Are you ok?
Did you want to talk about our options?
Take a minute to breathe, and let's talk.
Let's find out more information.

Support from your partner during a precipitous birth is key, and know that they may be feeling overwhelmed as well. Having a doula present may take the load off both of you, allowing for calm and quiet to settle in amongst the chaos. A gentle hand on both mom's shoulder and partner's arm may be all that is needed to get through what is going on.

Open communication
Active participant in your care