I admin a facebook group, "Pregnant In Denton" for women who are currently pregnant or trying to conceive in the Denton County Texas area. One of the most frequent discussions center around knowing the difference between pre-labor, warm-up, Braxton Hicks types of contractions versus OMG THIS IS IT, productive labor that leads to a baby.
There are five things I suggest to all of my doula clients and students to do in order to tell if their contractions are warm up, or the real deal.
Go for a power walk. Browse Target. Go check the mail. (This can speed up labor, if it stalls out, too!)
You wouldn't run a marathon without a super healthy breakfast, right? Birth is a marathon, in every way. Fuel your body to prepare for the toughest thing it'll ever do.
Similarly to why I encourage food, drinking helps your body deliver all those good nutrients to your organs and your baby. Dehydration can cause your uterus to be irritable, which leads to cramping, not productive contractions.
4. Shower or Bath
Midwives call laboring in a tub an "aqua-dural" for its epidural-like pain relief. Warm water is relaxing, allowing your body to either stop cramping, or relax enough so that true contractions can do their job to dilate your cervix quickly and evenly.
5. NAP. SLEEP. SIESTA. REST.
This is the most important one. If you can sleep, do it!!! Talk to your midwife or OB if you're having difficulty sleeping. But if you think you may be in labor, take a nap. There's no way to tell how long you'll be in labor, so getting as much rest as possible during early labor is crucial. If you knew you'd be awake for the next 24 hours straight, you'd probably want to take a nap now!
If you think you are in labor, complete items 1-5. If your contractions continue even after eating, drinking, walking, bathing and sleeping; congratulations! You're probably in labor! If not, try to enjoy these last few days of pregnancy by pampering yourself and getting plenty of rest and fluids. As always, when in doubt, call your care provider.
Birth With Bethany provides Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes, doula support, certified car seat checks and placenta encapsulation to families in the Flower Mound, Lewisville, Denton, Argyle, Plano, Dallas, McKinney, Frisco, Southlake, Trophy Club, Colleyville, Coppell, Carrollton and Grapevine areas.
I'm Bethany. Wife. Boy Mom. Bradley Method® teacher. Child passenger safety technician. Placenta encapsulator. I like little dogs, big hair and sweet tea.