You’ve waited throughout your entire pregnancy for labor to begin. Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, you’re bound to have some apprehension and anticipation for the big event. This is completely normal and expected. Delivery is the peak of pregnancy.
But whether or not you’ve had other children before may influence the rate at which labor progresses once it begins. Dr. Alan Patterson of Patterson OBGYN explains more about how to tell when labor is starting and the other factors that might matter along the way.
Most women are designed to begin labor after 37 weeks of pregnancy when they are considered full-term. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work out that way.
You might have some of the following symptoms if you’re in preterm labor:
If you have any of these symptoms or more than one of them it is important that you notify your health care provider as soon as possible, because many times premature labor can be stopped with early intervention.
Of course, it’s also very common – especially with first babies – to have false labor. We’ll explain more in the next section.
False, or prodromal, labor is not necessarily what you think it is. There’s a common feeling of disappointment among many women, who go to the hospital, only to be told that it’s “only” false labor. False labor actually serves an important function: to help your body to prepare for the actual work ahead.
Some of the signs and symptoms of false labor are difficult to distinguish from the real thing. Here are some signs:
There’s no reason to feel embarrassed if it turns out to be false labor. It’s always better to check and get evaluated by a professional.
Prodromal or false labor can last for a few days or a few weeks or sometimes longer than that. Resting and staying off of your feet and drinking enough liquids so your urine is clear can often make false labor contractions go away. Most women need to drink more liquids than what they think they need.
The symptoms of real labor are usually pretty unmistakable. Some of the common symptoms of the beginning of labor include the following:
If you think you are in labor, you should always call Dr. Patterson first,, before you go to the hospital, so he knows you are going, so he will call the labor room and alert them that you are coming, so they will get a nurse assigned to you and a room ready for you, and if you have a special situation, they will know in advance that you are coming! The worst thing that you can do is go to the hospital without calling Dr. Patterson.
Contact Dr. Alan Patterson if you think that you’re in the early stages of labor. Do not waste time by contacting him online and simply call him instead.