“How long will my labor last?”

“What’s the longest labor you’ve attended?”

“I just wish I knew how much longer this would take!”

“How much longer do you think I have until baby gets here?”


As a doula, these are all questions I’ve been asked either before or during the birthing time. Many women want to know what to expect, and that’s understandable! However, if there’s one question no one can answer for you, it’s how long your labor will last. There is such a wide range of “normal” when it comes to length of labor!* Surrendering to the unknown is difficult for most of us, but it is essential. During labor, your body and baby are working together to complete the process that began about nine months before, at conception.   This process shouldn’t be rushed at any stage – the changes that happen in your body in order to grow a tiny embryo into the beautiful baby you will give birth to are changes that need to happen little by little! And, in the same way, as the process comes to completion, the body makes gradual changes that bring about the birth of the babe that it has been growing for all of this time.  Birthing the baby is the culmination of the previous nine months of growth and change.

It is natural. It is sacred. It is awe-inspiring.

It is bringing a new life to this earth.

So let it take as long as it takes.

Put thoughts of time outside your mind. Work with your body. Work with your baby. Breathe. Surrender. Sway, and walk, and rock, or rest, and eat, and drink. Love, and be loved. Your baby will be here soon.


*If you are interested in information about average labor lengths, check out this excellent article from Evidence Based Birth.