As your due date approaches, you may have a rush of emotions and questions about what happens next. If your labor comes on quickly, you may end up hurrying to the hospital to deliver your baby. Or you could experience labor pain for hours (or even days) in what feels like a marathon.


“Women tend to experience longer labors with their first child and shorter labors with subsequent births,” said Rosalyn Miller, D.O., board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with Houston Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates at Sugar Land. When labor goes on for many hours, expectant parents often worry and wonder, “Is this normal?” The answer is usually yes, and you’re not alone.


Every Birth Experience Is Different

Every woman’s body responds differently to labor. “Sometimes the baby needs more time to get in the right position for birth, or the mother’s body needs more time to make way for baby,” Miller said.


Being prepared can help you handle the challenges ahead, especially if labor does not go as you planned. Miller suggests keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Discuss options for pain control at your prenatal visits. Ask about the timing of pain control for a long labor so you know what to expect.
  • Know when to go to the hospital. Check in with your health care provider if you think you may be in labor. Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest that you labor at home — until contractions are stronger and closer together — before going to the hospital.
  • Listen to your body’s cues. If labor is slow-going, it may be your body’s way of letting you get some rest before moving into the next stage of labor. Make the most of these breaks; take a nap and relax, if you can.
  • Move around during labor, if you can. Moving around and changing positions during labor can help prepare you and your baby for delivery.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy. Create a calm environment where you feel safe and supported. “Your birth experience is unique to you, and our physicians and staff are here to help you feel comfortable and focused while managing pain throughout labor and delivery,” Miller added. 


Houston Methodist Childbirth Center at Sugar Land is focused on you and your baby every step of the way. Visit or call 281.274.7500 to learn more about childbirth education classes and tours, including online classes, for expecting parents.