What are the actual labor pains?
Unlike false labor pain and Braxton Hicks contractions, true labor pains occur only after the 37th week. If you have been experiencing real labor pain before this, then you’re probably in preterm labor.
When these pains start, your body releases a hormone, oxytocin, which stimulates uterine contractions. These contractions cause intense pain, which arises in regular, equal frequencies.
If you’re experiencing true labor pains, then time them. If they come every five minutes with equally severe pain, then chances are you are in actual labor.
These uterine contractions will push the baby forward in the birth canal to reach the eventually softening cervix. With each contraction, your cervix dilates. You need to be 10 centimeters dilated for delivery.
Real labor pains come in waves of uncomfortable and unbearable aches. These start from your lower back, radiate to your lower abdomen and then stop. Though, every gush of pain can be fiercer than the last one.
Look out for the following signs of true labor pains:
- There is pink or bloody mucus left on your underpants.
- You feel like the baby has descended way lower in your abdomen.
- Your water has broken. That means the amniotic fluid has leaked and has not stopped ever since. You cannot control this fluid, like urine.
- Your blood pressure has increased.
- It will suddenly feel easier to breathe or urinate, as the baby descends down.
- You may have an upset stomach or diarrhea.
- You have evenly spaced contractions.
What to do if you’re experiencing labor pain
- Avoid touching your pelvic floor consistently.
- Practice breathing. This won’t lessen the pain but will make you better at handling it.
- Ask your partner or the nurse to help you rub and soothe your lower back. This can help relieve some pain.
- If you’re at home, immediately call your hospital. Save this as your emergency contact in your phone beforehand.
- Prepare for actual labor by asking your doctor about epidurals. If there is time, discuss with your doctor your possible delivery options.
- If you experience this pain before the 37th week of pregnancy, chances are you’re in preterm labor. Immediately get in touch with your doctor.
- Do not prolong this pain by waiting until your cervix finally gets dilated 10 centimeters to go to the hospital. Call your medical center or hospital right after you feel the first trigger.
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