How Do You Know You’re in Early Labor?

I've been having a bloody show for a week and having contractions for a week, but all I have is pain. When does labor start good? Am I in the early stage of labor?

Answer:

Sometimes mothers experience an extended first stage of labor, often referred to as “prodromal labor.” They may have a show like you did, and experience contractions. This can last for days and kind be “on and off” – the contractions will come and go. Many mothers find it exhausting. Usually it's building up to the actual labor. It sounds like this is what you're experiencing.

The best thing to do in your case is to get as much REST as you possibly can. Prodromal labor can leave you exhausted when active labor begins, so it is best to take it easy. Sleep and nap as much as you can. Also make sure that you're eating and especially drinking. Plenty of fluids are very important to your body now and during active labor. You'll also feel better if you're well-nourished.

Usually labor kicks in within several days of having a bloody show, though sometimes women will have a show a week or two before full labor.

If you feel like you're at your limit with it, you can discuss a minor intervention with your doctor or midwife, such as breaking your water or sweeping the membranes – but if you're able to eat, drink, and get rest I would just walk, clean the house, make love if you have a partner, and wait for full labor to kick in on its own. Best of luck!

(NOTE: Want a Perfect Birth Plan Template? Use this template and step-by-step videos to write a birth plan that gets your birth team on your side for a beautiful birth experience! Get the kit here.)

Handle Labor Pain

About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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