Is it time? Are you ready? Is this labor?
You have been feeling sort of ‘off’ all day long. Nothing quite specific, just different. Maybe you had a burst of energy (nesting) or maybe you have had a nagging, dull ache in your back and abdomen all day long. Those contractions that you have been calling Braxton Hicks for weeks now, are seemingly stronger. You may even start to have some pelvic cramping that reminds you of period cramps. Could this be the first stage of labor? The truth is the signs of labor are different for every woman, and you have to go with your intuition!
The first stage of labor can last for hours or even days. Most women start feeling a little different and get a burst of energy as new hormones are released to prepare you for labor and delivery. The big question is – do you go to the hospital or wait it out?
If you are having some of the signs of labor listed above, but are not having contractions that are timely and getting faster by the moment, your best bet is to stay at home for a little longer. Now is a good time to lie down and take a little rest. Make sure that you eat well so you will have the energy for labor and delivery and try to relax. Being in the hospital for the very early stages of labor is normally not necessary, and many hospitals may just send you home anyway.
One of the most common signs of labor that says labor is imminent, or will occur within a day or two is the ‘bloody show.’ The bloody show is essentially the loss of your mucous plug from the cervix, which until now has held your cervix closed. Most women only notice this when they go to the bathroom and see a mucousy discharge that is tinged pink or red with blood. This means that your cervix has thinned sufficiently and labor and delivery are imminent. This would be a good time to call your doctor, but not necessarily the time to rush to the hospital.
Another sign of labor is the breaking of waters. Don’t worry – it’s not usually as dramatic as in the movies. But it’s certainly a sign you won’t NOT notice. If your water breaks, you should go ahead and proceed to the hospital where they will test the fluid to make sure it is amniotic fluid and not something else. If it is, you will be admitted and can start letting friends and family know that you are about to be in labor. IF you call your doctor, some may even advise you to wait until contractions start to go the hospital, but you should do whatever is comfortable for you.
If you are suddenly getting contractions that are harder and faster and coming more consistently, you should definitely start timing them and place a call into your doctor. Most folks, at this point – go ahead and trek to the hospital to get checked in. Some doctors will recommend waiting until contractions are lasting a minute each, coming every 5 minutes and have been that way for at least an hour before coming to the hospital. If this is your first baby, you have no idea how fast your labor will progress, so being safe rather than sorry is the best rule of thumb.
At the end of pregnancy, it is very important to pay attention to your body and to go to your regularly scheduled well visits with your health care provider. If you are paying attention to your body, and notice the subtle changes that may take place days before active labor begins, you will be ready for the real thing when it happens.
How did you know you were in labor?
Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.