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Is this labor or Prodromal Labor ?

Posted by on Aug. 7, 2010 at 11:28 PM
  • 19 Replies



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!






Just as a woman’s heart knows,

How and when to pump,

Her lungs to inhale,

And her hand to pull back from fire,

So she knows when and how to give birth.


- Virginia Di


ICAN

by on Aug. 7, 2010 at 11:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
aquarianmom69
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:00 AM
That may explain what I have had going on since late yesterday... I timed contractions that were 2 min apart for one hour but went to bed anyway... today I discovered that they never stopped but are 4-5 minites apart... (can't remember which... no sleep for 4 nights :( ) I did notice that when I checked my cervix ( they would have done the same at L&D so don't bash) I noticed it is slowly moving down..... it wasn't hard to reach and I am 1cm anyway... lol the pregnant body is a weird thing....
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velvetnbrielle
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:22 AM


Quoting aquarianmom69:

That may explain what I have had going on since late yesterday... I timed contractions that were 2 min apart for one hour but went to bed anyway... today I discovered that they never stopped but are 4-5 minites apart... (can't remember which... no sleep for 4 nights :( ) I did notice that when I checked my cervix ( they would have done the same at L&D so don't bash) I noticed it is slowly moving down..... it wasn't hard to reach and I am 1cm anyway... lol the pregnant body is a weird thing....

How can you check your cervix? What does it feel like? And with this contractions, tmi but, does your vagina pulsate too? Like its beating? I always think its my daughter's heartbeat or that she is hiccupping but it always seems to happen after I have false contractions and Im scared cause they started yesterday (FC) and I know they are not real but what if they are? Uh! IDK but this post is interesting and I want to know what else I should be trying to look out for!


Tay-Brittnie
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:34 AM

I haven't even started to worry about false labor yet I guess.  My family doesn't really have those issues, but I guess it's good to be informed, so thanks.  :)  Right now I'm focusing on breathing through my child laying on my lungs (or that's what it feels like lol).  Thanks for the information seriously though!

doulala
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:37 AM
Quoting velvetnbrielle:

How can you check your cervix? What does it feel like? And with this contractions, tmi but, does your vagina pulsate too? Like its beating? I always think its my daughter's heartbeat or that she is hiccupping but it always seems to happen after I have false contractions and Im scared cause they started yesterday (FC) and I know they are not real but what if they are? Uh! IDK but this post is interesting and I want to know what else I should be trying to look out for!


I wonder if you're noticing the placenta.    It has it's own pulse, too.



Checking Your Own Cervix





In True Labor

Contractions will:
Get progressively longer
Build in intensity
Have shorter rest times

It seems unfair that the best advice most experienced mothers will give you is, "You'll know when it's labor." Even if it is true, it isn't especially helpful for the first time mother. What signs should she be looking for to let her know that labor is really starting?

Your body is going to go through periods of contractions that may be regular or irregular for days or weeks before your true labor begins. These contractions may feel strong or mild, some women don't even notice them. But they will have some differences from true labor contractions.

The first difference is that true labor contractions will not space out or slow down when you change activities, pre-labor contractions will. In fact, very often true labor contractions will increase when you change activity.

Another difference has to do with the overall pattern of contractions. In true labor, contractions will build in intensity and length, and they will get coser together. In pre-labor contractions will remain the same for many hours, sometimes days.


Testing for True Labor

There are a few "self-tests" you can do to determine if what you are experiencing is true labor.

Drink some water - Dehydration can cause you to feel contractions that look just like true labor, but are not productive.

Eat something - Some women find that hunger brings on Braxton-Hicks (pre-labor) contractions. Eating seems to stop these contractions.

Change your Activity - With pre-labor, changing activity (like resting if you have been walking around or going for a walk if you have been resting) can cause the contractions to stop.

Watch the contraction pattern - Even if you are having contractions less than 10 minutes apart, it may not be true labor. If the contractions are staying the same (not getting closer together or longer) it is pre-labor.

*      *      *
Pre/Early labor indicators: Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, losing mucous plug, bloody show, contractions (regular~increasing in intensity), back pain, menstrual-like cramps, pressure very low. While these are normal things to notice in the third trimester, it's a combo that gets your attention. Especially, when the contractions increase to a point where you must stop what you're doing to focus on getting through it.


*      *      *

The contractions will sort themselves out. 4-1-1 is the "general rule" for knowing when "it's time" to get serious. Contractions are 4 minutes apart or less, 1 minute long or so, and happening this way for 1 hour or longer. ***Remember, to gauge how far apart they are: time contractions from the start of one to the start of the next.




Just as a woman’s heart knows,

How and when to pump,

Her lungs to inhale,

And her hand to pull back from fire,

So she knows when and how to give birth.


- Virginia Di


ICAN

velvetnbrielle
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 2:26 AM


Quoting doulala:

Quoting velvetnbrielle:

How can you check your cervix? What does it feel like? And with this contractions, tmi but, does your vagina pulsate too? Like its beating? I always think its my daughter's heartbeat or that she is hiccupping but it always seems to happen after I have false contractions and Im scared cause they started yesterday (FC) and I know they are not real but what if they are? Uh! IDK but this post is interesting and I want to know what else I should be trying to look out for!


I wonder if you're noticing the placenta.    It has it's own pulse, too.



Checking Your Own Cervix





In True Labor

Contractions will:
Get progressively longer
Build in intensity
Have shorter rest times

It seems unfair that the best advice most experienced mothers will give you is, "You'll know when it's labor." Even if it is true, it isn't especially helpful for the first time mother. What signs should she be looking for to let her know that labor is really starting?

Your body is going to go through periods of contractions that may be regular or irregular for days or weeks before your true labor begins. These contractions may feel strong or mild, some women don't even notice them. But they will have some differences from true labor contractions.

The first difference is that true labor contractions will not space out or slow down when you change activities, pre-labor contractions will. In fact, very often true labor contractions will increase when you change activity.

Another difference has to do with the overall pattern of contractions. In true labor, contractions will build in intensity and length, and they will get coser together. In pre-labor contractions will remain the same for many hours, sometimes days.


Testing for True Labor

There are a few "self-tests" you can do to determine if what you are experiencing is true labor.

Drink some water - Dehydration can cause you to feel contractions that look just like true labor, but are not productive.

Eat something - Some women find that hunger brings on Braxton-Hicks (pre-labor) contractions. Eating seems to stop these contractions.

Change your Activity - With pre-labor, changing activity (like resting if you have been walking around or going for a walk if you have been resting) can cause the contractions to stop.

Watch the contraction pattern - Even if you are having contractions less than 10 minutes apart, it may not be true labor. If the contractions are staying the same (not getting closer together or longer) it is pre-labor.

*      *      *
Pre/Early labor indicators: Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, losing mucous plug, bloody show, contractions (regular~increasing in intensity), back pain, menstrual-like cramps, pressure very low. While these are normal things to notice in the third trimester, it's a combo that gets your attention. Especially, when the contractions increase to a point where you must stop what you're doing to focus on getting through it.


*      *      *

The contractions will sort themselves out. 4-1-1 is the "general rule" for knowing when "it's time" to get serious. Contractions are 4 minutes apart or less, 1 minute long or so, and happening this way for 1 hour or longer. ***Remember, to gauge how far apart they are: time contractions from the start of one to the start of the next.





Thank you so much! All this stuff is really helpful!


doulala
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:10 PM
Quoting velvetnbrielle:
Quoting doulala:


Thank you so much! All this stuff is really helpful!

No prob!

I have all sorts of stuff saved, ready to offer.

;-D




Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.

~Barbara Katz Rothma


When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change. -Mongan


sissychristi
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:39 PM

BUMP!

olgabillman07
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

 With my first I started getting very strong braxton hicks contractions in my 36th week, but somehow knew it was the time yet because they were irregular. Finally, at 38 weeks out of no where they hit me full force and stayed 2-3 minutes apart my entire labor (which was six hours). I think those very strong braxton hicks contractions definitely helped move things along once I did actually start my labor.

Ms.HollyDolly
by on Aug. 8, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I have been having BH since 34 weeks so that isn't something new . But what is new is that I constantly ( for about a week now ) am having trouble with having a low appetite and loose bowel movements . I didn't know if that has anything to do with pre labor since this is my first child. But its getting worrisome cause its been consistent . Other than that I am fine and last week I haven't dilated or effaced yet. No fever or elevated temp so not sick so idk .

       

                          

Jamilla Sade Due 8/20/2010                  

doulala
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 11:20 PM

 

   :-D


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