15 Ways To Prepare For Labor: For Your Mind, Body and Soul
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In The Guide
Every woman’s story of pregnancy and delivery is different. Some have fairly uneventful pregnancies while others are hit with every discomfort in the book. Some women have quick deliveries while others can be counted in days.
Some women can barely tell they’re in labor, and some women experience what’s known as prodromal labor.
You can read every pregnancy book and blog out there to prepare yourself, but there is an air of mystery around the due date and beginning of labor, especially for first-time moms.
How will I know I’m going into labor? Will my water break? How accurate is my due date?
At the first twinge of belly discomfort, you’re running to the car with your hospital bag, only to arrive and then be sent home.
Sometimes called “false labor”, prodromal labor is the beginning of contractions, but it does not dilate your cervix.
The contractions are real, but they start and stop, never increasing in frequency or intensity. It can start up to a week or even month before you’re due.
While prodromal labor is real contractions, it’s not real labor. You’ll probably feel the contractions at the same time every day, but there’s no need to run to the hospital.
It feels like the beginning of labor, but you could really be weeks away from giving birth.
It’s important to remember that experiencing prodromal labor doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong and it doesn’t cause any harm to your baby.
Many women take trips to the hospital only to arrive and be turned away because they’re not in real labor. To hopefully avoid such a trip, learn to recognize the differences between real and prodromal labor.
Even experienced moms can have a hard time telling the difference between prodromal and real labor.
It’s usually better to be safe than sorry, so if you can’t tell the difference you should probably head to the hospital. If it is prodromal labor, your doctor can talk to you about what to expect and when you should come back.
Braxton Hicks contractions are considered “practice contractions” while prodromal labor is “practice labor.”
Braxton Hicks contractions are the tightening of your uterus and abdominal wall (some women compare them to menstrual cramps). They can come and go and don’t increase in intensity.
Most women don’t even feel them. Women who experience them say it’s more of a tightening and discomforting feeling rather than pain.
Prodromal labor follows a regular pattern and the intensity varies. Because they are real contractions, they can be quite painful!
Braxton Hicks contractions can start in the second trimester while prodromal labor only starts at the end of your pregnancy.
Read our momtricks guide to Braxton Hicks.
There is no conclusive answer to what causes prodromal labor.
Some people believe it depends on your baby’s position, others think it can be caused by stress or physical activity. Because some women are more prone to it than others, leading some researchers to believe it is caused by a uterine abnormality. It also tends to be more common among women who’ve had three pregnancies.
So, unfortunately, you won’t know if you’re going to experience prodromal labor.
While it can be scary or unnerving, prodromal labor is considered normal. It can be tough to work through, but ultimately you’re getting ready to meet your baby! Here are some tips on surviving prodromal labor:
Going through prodromal labor is a tough experience. Make sure you have the support you need. And if you have any questions or feel that your pain is something abnormal, contact your doctor immediately.
If you experience prodromal labor, just remember it’s a sign your baby is on its way! Your body is just preparing you for that moment you meet your child. Some women who experience prodromal labor also experience shortened real labor. There’s a little silver lining!
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