HOUSTON -

For many women, labor may be less painful these days but it seems to be taking longer.

According to research from The National Institute of Health, today's woman can expect birth to take about two and half hours longer compared to 50 years ago.

It could be because of the common use of epidurals that are known to slow down the birthing process from 40 to 90 minutes.

These days women are more likely to have an epidural -- an estimated 55 percent compared to just four percent 50 years ago.

The Daily Mail also reported it could also be attributed to modern-day mothers weighing more before and during pregnancy and being on average four years older than those in the 1960s group.

The study showed a large fall in forcep's deliveries.

The increase in average labor times does not seem to be harmful, the data shows today’s babies are slightly healthier when they are born.