Page 46 - Great Expectations

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46 – Great Expectations
First babies are notoriously slow about being born. You should plan to monitor your first few contractions in the
comfort of your home. You should prepare to leave for the hospital when your membranes rupture or when your
contractions are from 5 to 7 minutes apart. Prepare to leave earlier if you live quite a distance from the hospital. Check
with your healthcare provider about eating or drinking anything if you think you are in labor.
False labor
is a common occurrence and unless you want to get all excited and run to the hospital needlessly several
times, it is impor­tant to know the difference between true and false labor.
False labor involves cramps or contractions of the lower abdomen, similar to true labor, but there is a vital difference.
False labor does not cause a change in the cervix, it does not come in regular intervals, and it may disappear altogether
if you change positions or walk around. Time the minutes from the start of one contraction to another for several
contractions. If you have one contraction now and one 45 minutes later and another 3 hours later, then you are having
false labor, especially if you walk around during these contractions and they seem to ease up or stop.
On the other hand, if you time your contractions and find they are evenly spaced coming closer and closer together
and do NOT go away if you change position or walk around, then you are possibly experiencing
true labor
. Some
labor contractions cause back pain and some cause lower abdominal pain.
When you think you are in labor, sit down
and time your contractions.
There is no need to immediately panic and rush for the phone, especially if this is your
first baby and your membranes have not ruptured. Labor usually takes a while.
Timing of Contractions
C
O
N
T
R
A
C
T
I
O
N
C
O
N
T
R
A
C
T
I
O
N
Frequency
Duration
Frequency
­– Time from the
start of one contraction to the
beginning of another.
Duration
– Time from the start
of one contraction to the end of
the same contraction.
False Labor
• There is no “bloody show.”
• Contractions are irregular
and not progressively closer
together.
• Walking, changing activity or
positions may relieve or stop the
contractions.
• There is no change in cervix.
True Labor
• A “bloody show” may be the
first sign. It is usually associated
with cramp-like pains.
• Contractions get stronger, occur
more frequently and last longer.
• Walking, changing activity or
position doesn’t affect intensity
or frequency of contractions.
• Cervix dilates.
Labor contractions may
cause back pain and/or lower
abdominal pain.
Is this Really
Labor?