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Pregnancy Pregnancy

Prodromal Labor

Posted by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 11:52 AM
  • 14 Replies

How many of you experienced prodromal labor? How long did you have prodromal labor before you went into active labor? How closely did your prodromal labor mimick your active labor?

Prodromal Labor

Often in the past prodromal labor has been given the misnomer "false labor", yet every woman experiencing it has said in frustration "There's nothing false about what I'm feeling!" The misunderstanding has arisen because prodromal labor can feel very much like active labor, yet is not consistently progressive; it does not lead without a break to the birth of the baby. It does, though, serve an important function in the birth process. Prodromal labor does the preliminary work of preparing the uterus, baby and cervix for birth. All of this work has to be done before the baby can be born. Some women's bodies do it all without her being aware of it. However, some women's bodies draw a great deal of attention to the work being done. Too much sometimes.

"This is driving me crazy," one pregnant mother sighed. "I've been having contractions off and on now for three days. Just when I think it's time to call my midwife, they completely stop again!"

Length:

  • Prodromal labor contractions may begin hours or even days before active labor.

Contractions:

  • The contractions may feel like Braxton Hicks contractions or they may be quite a bit stronger.

  • They are irregular in length, frequency and intensity. The key word here is irregular. In general though, they are not longer than a minute and not more frequent than 7 to 10 minutes apart. They shouldn't be so intense that they take your breath away.

  • They may or may not be affected by your activity. The wisest course is to vary your activity level, alternating periods of mild activity with rest.

Physical Effects:

  • The cervix is moving from a posterior (back) position to an anterior (forward) position.

  • The cervix is softening.

  • The cervix is beginning its effacement or thinning. It may thin anywhere from 0% to 50% during this stage.

  • You may lose your mucous plug from the cervix.

  • Your cervix may begin to dilate, opening anywhere from 1 to 4 centimeters.

Emotional Effects:

  • You may be quite excited when you first feel these contractions, especially if they are stronger than any you've had until now.

  • As time goes on and the contractions continue without any apparent progress you may feel let down and eventually become quite tired and discouraged.

How To Cope:

  • Resist the urge to call everyone immediately and tell them you are in labor. That way you will feel less like a watched pot waiting to boil. You should be able to handle these contractions with some relaxation techniques and concentration. If they are any stronger than that or you just aren't sure, you might want to go ahead and call your doula, she can help you to evaluate exactly what is going on.
  • Use these contractions to get to know how your body feels as it begins the hard work of labor. Prepare mentally for the challenges you will shortly be facing.
  • Now is not the time to hike ten miles or tromp through the mall for hours in a vain attempt to get labor going. You will just wear yourself out and have that much less energy for active labor.
  • Be sure to eat well. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains are especially good now; they will provide you with plenty of energy reserves. Try to stick with foods that are easy on your digestion, you don't want to be dealing with heartburn on top of labor.
  • Get plenty of rest. Even if the contractions are keeping you awake at night, nap as much as you can. Again, you want to conserve your energy for the hard work ahead.
  • Resist as much as possible the urge to focus too much attention on these contractions. The more you watch, the more time will drag. Try to find some distracting activities to participate in.
  • Keep your spirits up; remember that these contractions are doing important work!



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by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 11:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Pandapanda
by Cafe Panda on Mar. 19, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Are you still having it? Hopefully real labor will kick in soon, you've been off and on for weeks now, it's got to be getting close.. right?

Here's a bump for you mama!

Army_Wife41
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I didn't really have this with my son.  However, with this pregnancy I have been having this for a couple of weeks now. It is getting extremely frustrating, especially considering today is my due date (March 19) and still no baby. So I have been on edge about going into labor for over 2 weeks at this point...and now I am going to be past my due date on top of it all lol. Sigh....such an unlucky turn of events for me.

As far as how it compares to my actual labor...I can't say for this baby yet. However, the contractions are definitely not nearly as painful as the ones I had when I was in true labor with my son. Also, I find the contractions only affect my front or back....not both like when I was in true labor with my son. My true labor contractions always started low and in the front then moved to my back near the climax. Prodromal labor contractions (for me) stay where they start.

MammaRed
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I had it with my youngest son....didn't have it with my oldest son.  My oldest son's labor was 19 hours, and my youngest was 4-6 hours. 

I had prodromal labor for about two weeks (is when it was actually noticable, somewhat uncomfortable) moreso than Braxton Hicks. 

sissychristi
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I went into actual labor at 34 weeks but it was stopped. Since then I have had constant contractions and back pain. Last night, went into labor again with contractions 2 minutes apart, then it suddenly weakened and stopped.

Today my contractions are 12 minutes apart but weaker than they were last night.

We don't really know anything about when baby will be ready. We conceived on the pill and I had a regular period, so my due date (April 7th) is just a big guess.

Quoting Pandapanda:

Are you still having it? Hopefully real labor will kick in soon, you've been off and on for weeks now, it's got to be getting close.. right?

Here's a bump for you mama!




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ElijahsMom211
by M on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:03 PM

So this is what was going on last night!! I'm sorry it didn't happen for you. Hopefully it will soon!

Ati_13
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I had prodromal labor for 2 weeks before I was induced (high blood pressure).  I was dilated to a 3 the whole time.  For me it wasn't terribly uncomfortable, but I had expected it and to me it just felt like my body was getting ready.  I think having a relaxed attitude about when baby will come helps a lot with prodromal labor.  If you're on edge, always wondering "OMG is this it?" then you're gonna be tense and anxious.  When the contractions would start I would smile and relax through them and wait it out to see if it was labor.  I always knew it wasn't, though... I dunno how, because the contractions seemed regular and strong, but I just knew it wasn't.

For me the prodromal labor closely mimicked early-active labor.  But my early-active labor was cytotec/pitocin induced, so I dunno what it would have felt like to go into labor naturally.

I've got another 20 weeks until I'm due with this one, I wonder if I will have it again.  I look forward to it :)

sissychristi
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Although prodromal labor is described as not being as painful, I tend to disagree. A lot of women have the same pain during prodromal labor as they do in early active labor.

Quoting MammaRed:

I had it with my youngest son....didn't have it with my oldest son.  My oldest son's labor was 19 hours, and my youngest was 4-6 hours. 

I had prodromal labor for about two weeks (is when it was actually noticable, somewhat uncomfortable) moreso than Braxton Hicks. 




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Army_Wife41
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:08 PM

That is how it has been for me. I feel like I have been in early labor for weeks, but it comes and goes. It is really really frustrating. It is that really crappy stage between braxton hicks tightening and labor pain. Just enough to notice that you are hurting, and enough to know that baby isn't close.

I really really hope this means I will have a short labor. My last one was only 12 hours start to finish....maybe this one will be 6-8...keeping my fingers crossed. :-( I just want my baby to decide its time to come!

Quoting sissychristi:

Although prodromal labor is described as not being as painful, I tend to disagree. A lot of women have the same pain during prodromal labor as they do in early active labor.

Quoting MammaRed:

I had it with my youngest son....didn't have it with my oldest son.  My oldest son's labor was 19 hours, and my youngest was 4-6 hours. 

I had prodromal labor for about two weeks (is when it was actually noticable, somewhat uncomfortable) moreso than Braxton Hicks. 



baby

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momto1ryen
by Lindsey on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:10 PM

I disagree as well. It can and for me was painful and frustrating. Contractions coming every 8 minutes for three hours and then just suddenly stopping just to start 2 hours later again, ugh. B&H aren't suppose to have a pattern either, but last week I was having severe back pain so  decided to lay down and pay attention. For 30 minutes I had contractions 5 minutes apart lasting a minute each, then it just stopped. What's irregular about that?

Quoting sissychristi:

Although prodromal labor is described as not being as painful, I tend to disagree. A lot of women have the same pain during prodromal labor as they do in early active labor.

Quoting MammaRed:

I had it with my youngest son....didn't have it with my oldest son.  My oldest son's labor was 19 hours, and my youngest was 4-6 hours. 

I had prodromal labor for about two weeks (is when it was actually noticable, somewhat uncomfortable) moreso than Braxton Hicks. 



sissychristi
by on Mar. 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM

I try to keep in mind that this is the body's way of preparing for labor. It will make you stronger, and more ready for the marathon you are about to enter.

Just make sure you stay active and keep moving. Sometimes prodromal labor happends because the baby needs help moving into a better position. The contractions help some, but by mommy staying active and trying different positions and techniques, the baby is more likely to get the help it needs.

Quoting Army_Wife41:

That is how it has been for me. I feel like I have been in early labor for weeks, but it comes and goes. It is really really frustrating. It is that really crappy stage between braxton hicks tightening and labor pain. Just enough to notice that you are hurting, and enough to know that baby isn't close.

I really really hope this means I will have a short labor. My last one was only 12 hours start to finish....maybe this one will be 6-8...keeping my fingers crossed. :-( I just want my baby to decide its time to come!

Quoting sissychristi:

Although prodromal labor is described as not being as painful, I tend to disagree. A lot of women have the same pain during prodromal labor as they do in early active labor.




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