This article includes contributions from midwife, Brenda Manning MIPP. I spent the day eating pineapple, and doing nipple stimulation (which worked I think) and finally at 7pm I had the worst contraction I’d ever had. Most women will dilate at the rate of one centimeter per hour. Your doctor or midwife will notice your cervix softening, thinning, or dilating. Most women who notice their show will go into labour over the following few days. It often appears several days before labor begins, although it's not always noticeable. The good news is that you have a bit more breathing room, since your little one is moving away from your lungs. These ‘practice’ contractions which you might have felt during pregnancy can occur more frequently, and be more intense and painful. You may have had occasional contractions in the last few months, but as you enter active labor, your contractions should feel stronger, closer together, and get more regular. If you’re having your first baby, you may think you’re going into labor when it’s really just a false alarm, and it’s too early to head to the hospital. We’re passionate about women and men feeling informed, confident and prepared for pregnancy, birth and early parenting. Early real labor contractions could feel like strong menstrual cramps, stomach upset or lower abdominal pressure. However, call your doctor or midwife if you notice bright red bleeding (not pale pink or dark brown), if your water breaks (especially if the fluid is green or brown or has a foul odor), if your baby is less active, or you have a headache, vision problems, or sudden swelling. Find out more in our article, The Mucus Plug During Pregnancy. There’s no need to start timing the contractions straight away – if your contractions are mild, try to ignore them. I also had an unusually heavy show (I was having a VBAC). Some moms-to-be even lose a couple of pounds. Each contraction is felt starting at the lower back, radiating around to the front, low in the groin. Labor can take a lot of time, and you’ll be more comfortable, and perfectly safe, staying at home. In most cases, hospitals like you to call when your waters have broken. I even told my dad the baby would be here that day, I was so sure of it! The main thing is to play it down, keep things normal and ignore any contractions if you can. It can come out in one large piece (it looks similar to the mucus in your nose) or lots of little ones, though you may not get a glimpse of it at all and some women don't lose it before delivery. That super-size belly, along with your compressed bladder and other organs, can make it tricky to get a good night’s sleep during the last days and weeks of pregnancy. We popped the TENS machine on and went to the hospital. I had the drip (synthetic hormones) which I didn’t like one bit.”, “My waters broke on the morning of December 1st 2005 and I had no pain whatsoever. It can be an early labour sign but you could also have an upset tummy – how long have you have it for? There isn’t much room to walk around either, which isn’t helpful. Are you eagerly awaiting any signs of labour, so you know labour has begun or is imminent?

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