Why Princess Kate's Labor Was So Speedy

Birthing experts tell PEOPLE that the second time around is often quicker than the first

Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

When Kensington Palace Tweeted the news that “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8:34″ on Saturday morning, many were taken by surprise at the speed of the little royal’s arrival.

After all, the announcement that Princess Kate was in labor only arrived a little more than two hours earlier.

But birthing experts say this is very common with second children.

“Second labors tend to be a lot quicker than first labors and that’s primarily because the body knows what it’s doing,” Denise Linay, midwife and advisor to the Royal College of Midwives tells PEOPLE. “Plus, if you have already given birth naturally, you will be more confident and that can have a huge impact psychologically.”

When Prince George was born at 4:24 p.m. on July 22, 2013, the world waited for over 24 hours to get a glimpse of the royal bundle. Mom and dad Prince William didn’t emerge from St. Mary’s hospital until the following evening, when they appeared on the steps of the famous Lindo Wing to cheers from the crowds and the world’s press.

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Could the same schedule be in place second time round? “I think Kate will be keen to get back to George, so will probably want to be home as soon as possible,” says pregnancy expert and midwife Zita West.

Should they decide to leave on Saturday afternoon or evening, it would certainly follow the medical guidelines in the U.K. Says Linay, “Usually moms can be discharged within six hours, that’s the general rule.”

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