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)

Gearing up

  • 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!