How Long Will I Push During Delivery?

You've heard the stories—labor and delivery can sometimes be a doozy. Learn what factors affect how long you'll have to push.
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ByRobert Wool, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
Apr 2019
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There’s really no single answer that will suit everyone. The “push” phase of your delivery depends on many different factors, including what kind of shape you’re in, how big the baby is, if you’ve received an epidural, and so on. Some women push for as long as four hours straight, and some deliver baby on their second push.

There are a few more rules of thumb that can help you estimate whether you’ll push for a little or a lot of time: In general, you’ll probably push longer with your first baby than you will with subsequent deliveries. When you’re in this final labor stage, every minute may feel like an hour, so prepare yourself mentally and physically by taking childbirth classes. That way, when push comes to shove (we couldn’t resist), you’ll know what to expect and feel strong and confident.

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