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3 Things I Believe Made My Second Labor 32 Hours Shorter

Photograph by Getty Images

For me, birth rarely goes as planned.

I suspect it will be the same with my third baby—full of surprises and such—but the unknown hasn't stopped me from preparing.

My first birth seemed endless: A total of 40 hours transpired from my water breaking to holding my baby girl. Although elated with the birth of my sweet girl, I am forever marked by my birth experience. It was the hardest thing I've ever done and took me many months to fully process and appreciate.

The second go around was completely different. My 10 pound 4 ounce son arrived a mere two hours after my water broke. It was difficult in its own right, but obviously fast—much, much faster than I ever anticipated.

So, what was different?

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Of course, I'm comparing a first baby and a second baby, and subsequent deliveries almost always go faster. But 38 hours faster?

After my son's birth I journaled his birth story and then took it a step farther back and thought about my pregnancy too. I found that I did three specific things differently between pregnancy one and pregnancy two. And these three things? I truly believe they contributed to my swifter birth.

1. Chiropractic Care

I discovered chiropractic care during my first pregnancy when I was experiencing a lot of hip pain. I wasn't diligent with my appointments though. During my second pregnancy I was adjusted often, at least once or twice a week, especially during my third trimester. There is no doubt in my mind that by keeping my back and hips aligned my baby was able to come earthside in a more direct way.

Be assured there are so many things we can do to prepare our minds and bodies for successful labor and birth.

2. Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium was recommended to me in a roundabout way. My midwife thought it would be a good addition to my vitamin regime when I was struggling to fall asleep. Later, I visited another midwife who said she is seeing a trend of mamas taking magnesium during pregnancy and then experiencing shorter labors. Her data isn't official yet, but the more I dig, the more I learn about the wonders of magnesium.

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3. Evening Primrose Supplement

Finally, the star of the show: evening primrose! During the final weeks of my pregnancy I committed to taking evening primrose capsules both orally and vaginally. It's not the most glamorous thing, but evening primrose aids in ripening the cervix, which is essential to labor. Evening primrose won't speed up dilatation or effacement, but it does help get the cervix ready. A ripe cervix is ready for baby action!

I purposefully left out frequency and dose details, as every pregnancy is different and thus what worked for me might not work for you. Be assured there are so many things we can do to prepare our minds and bodies for successful labor and birth. Keep researching and talk with your care provider to see what is ideal for your situation.

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