What to expect
- Initial purpose: to efface and thin your cervix
- Feels similar to menstrual cramps or strong downward pressure or a tightening or a dull ache in front or back
- Real vs practice: real ones have a consistent pattern - longer and stronger and more frequent (closer together)
- Nesting = Intuition - feel the need to get things done! (cleaning, cooking, last minute details)
- In early labor, keep yourself moving (walking, sex, dancing, etc), busy and distracted
- If you haven't already, pack your hospital bag
- Keep hydrated - water, teas, soups, watery fruits and veggies (cucumbers, lettuces, tomaotes, oranges, melons, grapes, etc)
- Intuition is strong but requires you to feel trust + calm + safe + protected - birth is natural and spiritual (not a medical event) that connects us to our mothers/fathers, sisters/brothers, ourselves and our purpose
Water or Mucus Plug
- Water: It doesn’t always break first. How do you know - Gush? Leak? Trickle? Color? Odor? Brown specks?
- Plug: Often occurs after post-vaginal exam. May be tinged with blood (normal). Your cervix is dilating!
- Let OB know
- Call doula for support
- If you see a cord or limb - call 911, then OB, then doula!!!
The real deal
- Partner: pay attention to her breath, focus, level of concentration - is she easily distracted? annoyed? moaning?
- Mom: Rest and sip water in between contractions, and as they intensify, stay focused on your BREATHING
- In an hour, count the duration (start to finish) of a few contractions and note lag time in-between them
- 4-1-1 Rule: 4 minutes apart for 1 minute (duration) for one hour = head to the hospital (call OB first, then your doula)
- Remember that everything slows down upon arrival at the hospital!