What Is a Normal Rate of Progression for Labor?

If you're pregnant, you've probably received tons of advice regarding what you can expect from your labor--how long it will take, how intense it will be, how you'll feel after, and on and on. Turning to your doctor for advice can lend some much-needed relief from all the voices. However, many people's tendency is to accept all medical predictions for labor as absolute, set-in-stone truth--and where baby's well-being is concerned, it in fact often (and understandably!) feels like there's no other choice. (Disclaimer: in general, your doctor's expert opinion is very much worth trusting. This doula loves doctors and science!) Because of this, it can come as a big surprise to find out that some of what doctors lay out as guidelines for how labor is expected to progress is simply not the way it generally goes. One such guideline is the "Dilate One Centimeter Per Hour During Labor" rule, which is almost universally accepted among American OB-GYNs. The article I've linked below explains how this metric of labor came into being, and offers some interesting statistics that detail what tends to really go on during the average healthy labor. I for one found it pretty enlightening! -Camille