by Poppy Hill (England)
I have had two kids already – with the first my waters broke, but with the second they did not.
I am now a week and a half over due and everyone keeps saying you know when your in labor because your tummy goes all hard and you get pains… but my tummy is hard anyways and I get pains but no labor!
My midwife says I have to go in on Tuesday to be induced if he hasn't come by then. But I really would like a natural birth – are there any tips you can give me?
Many thanks – Poppy
I have had moments of wondering when labor would begin and how I would know it was beginning with each of my four pregnancies… and I'm sure I will have those same feelings in a few weeks with my current pregnancy! It's completely normal.
It's also very normal to get Braxton-hicks contractions, or “practice” contractions… and these contractions can feel very strong! They make your belly hard just like “real” contractions. In fact, they also do good to get your body ready for labor just like the real thing.
But when you're overdue and anxiously awaiting labor it can be very hard to figure out if you're feeling real labor coming on or not. In general, real contractions won't stop when you change what you're doing. If you sit, stand, take a nap, etc. they keep coming. They also tend to be felt all over – from your back to the front of your uterus, and sometimes up high. Braxton-hicks are often felt just in the front. Some women notice that their contractions have a “cramp-y edge” like period cramps. This is often a good sign labor is actually beginning.
You may also notice a bloody show, which is a good sign labor will get going.
If possible, I would try to make sure that you are doing all you can to bring on labor naturally, because it's good to let labor begin on its own – and as you know it's easier to have a natural birth if you have not been induced.
I have a couple of articles that may help you:
Best of luck to you with your upcoming labor and birth!
(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.)