Although every woman will describe her birth experience differently, there are specific events that happen prior to the birth of your baby. After 37 - 40 completed weeks of pregnancy, it is anticipated that you will deliver your infant. Knowing what to expect and how to recognize these events will provide you and your partner an important reference point for when to call your doctor or the hospital.
False labor or early labor may have some of the following symptoms:
- Contractions that are irregular and/or more than five minutes apart
- Pelvic pressure which is constant and not intermittent or wave-like
- Losing your mucous plug does not indicate that your labor is starting
- During false labor, try to distract yourself. Watch a movie, take a shower, go on a walk and drink fluids (dehydration can cause irregular contractions)
- Contractions are 5 minutes apart (from start to start), each contraction lasts at least 1 minute, and this pattern continues for 1-2 hrs
- The contractions make you stop and catch your breath
- The contractions do not go away after drinking some fluids or lying down
Bloody show is a small amount of blood mixed with mucous, which is a normal part of labor. After a cervical exam, you may see some bloody show. The show is less than a period, so if you soak a pad in less than an hour, please call your doctor. Any persistent bright red vaginal bleeding needs to be communicated to your doctor immediately.
Membranes (Bag of Water)
The amniotic fluid has a distinct smell, which is quite different from the smell of urine. Please note the color of your amniotic fluid and call your doctor when your water bag breaks. If you notice a yellowish or greenish fluid, please make sure you communicate this to your doctor.
Please call your doctor…
- When contractions are 5 minutes apart (from start to start), each contraction lasts at least 1 minute, and this pattern continues for 1-2 hours
- When your contractions are every 3-5 minutes apart lasting 45-60 seconds for 1 hour. If you have given birth before, please call if you are contracting every 5-7 minutes lasting 45-60 seconds for 1 hour.
- When your bag of water breaks. Please call immediately if you are leaking any green or yellowish fluid.
- If you are having heavy bright red vaginal bleeding
- If you are experiencing continuous abdominal pain
- If at any time during false labor or true labor, your fetal kick count falls below 10 movement in 2 hours.