Early contractions: What they feel like, and when to go to the hospital

when you go to the hospital to work

Depends on the situation, but for uncomplicated pregnant women, if the contractions are at regular intervals (such as every 4-5 minutes) and last about 1 minute each and lasting more than 1 hour, they usually go to the hospital. It’s time to The goal is to go when you are in active labor.

Towards the end of your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife will likely provide clear guidelines about when to tell you you have contractions and when to head to the hospital or birthing center with your hospital bag. .

Your instructions include whether you have a high-risk pregnancy or other complications, whether this is your first baby, whether you have had a premature birth in the past, whether you are planning a caesarean section, etc. It depends on individual circumstances. Distance from hospital or birthing center if positive for Group B Streptococcus.

If you’re not sure if you have time, call me. Doctors and midwives are used to receiving calls from women asking if they are in labour.

When you call, doctors and midwives can get clues about your condition from your voice. They’ll want to know:

How do the initial contractions feel?

Uterine contractions are the tightening and relaxing of the muscles of the uterus, stimulated by the hormone oxytocin. For some women, the contractions start slowly and feel like mild cramps, similar to menstrual or gas pains. will be broken.

As they progress, you’ll feel the contractions come in waves – increasing in intensity, peaking, then waning.

Women often feel a tightening from behind and move forward. Some women feel the pressure on her back. During labor pains, the abdomen becomes hard.

Read more about how labor pains feel during labor.

how to count contractions

Counting your first labor gives you valuable information about how far your labor is progressing.

Your doctor or midwife may recommend 5-1-1-guidelines. So if the contractions are every 5 minutes, the contractions last a minute each, and the contractions last an hour, then you should go to the hospital. Or 4-1-1 (contractions every 4 minutes), 3-1-1 (contractions every 3 minutes), or even he’s 3-1-2 (contractions every 3 minutes last about 1 minute each) ) may recommend other guidelines. , about 2 hours).

Here’s how to count contractions:

  1. Start counting as soon as you have contracted a few times. Write down the time so you can keep track of when the contractions started.
  2. Once the contraction begins, count the number of seconds it lasts. (You can use a stopwatch on your cell phone.) When labor begins, it lasts about 30 seconds, but gets longer and stronger.
  3. Note when new contractions begin.Measure the time between contractions from beginning until the next beginning. (Not the time from stop to next start.)

To make things easier, there are plenty of apps you can use to time your contractions.

If your contractions are irregular or seem to slow down instead of speeding up, doing some activity may help.

real labor pains vs pseudo labor pains

Braxton Hicks’ labor pains can sometimes make you think you’re in labor when they aren’t. However, there are ways to tell if a labor is real or false.

For example, the Braxton-Hicks contraction:

  • Usually painless (but still painful)
  • irregular and patternless
  • Usually tapered rather than increased in strength
  • Felt only forward (actual labor often starts in the back and moves forward)
  • Rare
  • May stall when repositioning or moving around

To ease labor pains in Braxton Hicks, try drinking water (sometimes caused by dehydration) or changing your activity and posture. Having a full bladder, being very active, and having sex can also cause false labor.

Call your midwife or doctor if you have regular, persistent labor of any kind, especially if you are less than 37 weeks pregnant.

What if I’m in labor but my waters haven’t broken?

In movies and TV shows, water rupture is often dramatic when a pregnant woman begins to go into labor. However, this is usually not the case.

In fact, your water may break before labor starts, during labor, or just before you give birth. In the case of a caesarean section, the membranes may not rupture.

If your membranes break before you are 37 weeks pregnant, it is called premature rupture of membranes or PPROM. In such cases, contact your provider immediately.

If your membranes do not rupture spontaneously and you have already been in the hospital for labor, your doctor or midwife may recommend that you pierce the amniotic sac with a small tool to break your membranes. This is called an amniotomy and is painless.

Learn what it feels like when your water breaks and what to do.

When to call your healthcare provider or go to the hospital right away

Regardless of how many contractions you have, it may be important to call your healthcare provider or go to the hospital right away.

Take immediate action if:

  • You have labor symptoms and have pregnancy complications
  • Signs of labor before 37 weeks (premature birth)
  • Meconium is present in the amniotic fluid (appears greenish or has green, brown, or yellow streaks). This may be a sign that your baby is stressed.
  • I noticed that my baby is not very active
  • You have vaginal bleeding, constant severe abdominal pain, or fever. These could be signs of a problem with the placenta, such as a placental abruption or an intrauterine infection.
  • You have symptoms of pre-eclampsia (a very serious blood pressure disorder) such as unusual swelling, severe or persistent headache, vision changes, severe pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen, dizziness, or trouble breathing.

If your water breaks, contact your provider. You may be asked to wait at home until regular labor occurs or until a certain time has passed (6-12 hours after water breaks, risk of infection increases). Or you may be told to go to the hospital. For example, if you test positive for group B streptococci, your provider will ask you to go to the hospital as soon as your water breaks so that you can start your antibiotics.

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