It’s 7pm, your about 39 weeks along and ready for baby any day now. You’ve put the other children to bed and your getting ready for a nice warm bath to help relax you before you go to sleep.
Then, you start to notice you are having contractions. These aren’t the same braxton hicks you’ve been having the last few weeks - these are REAL. They become too strong to ignore and you notice a pattern to them also.
You think to yourself - THIS IS IT!
You give yourself an hour or two, before telling your partner…IT’S TIME!
Everything you've learned in preparation for childbirth tells you to rest in the early stages. So, that is what you do. You take a bath, put on your labor playlist, do some of your relaxation techniques and you drift off to sleep…when you wake you notice the contractions have fizzled out.
You go on about your day even though you may feel drained - physically, mentally and emotionally. Hoping that true labor will kick in soon. You are SO ready to meet your baby.
As the day progresses you become increasingly uncomfortable - sporadic contractions throughout the afternoon and sure enough by nightfall - they are back. Strong and consistent. They are coming every 4-5 minutes just like last night. Your mind is telling you not to get your hopes up again, but your body is telling you - THIS IS LABOR. A few hours go by and the contractions are there to stay this time. Or so you think…
You and your partner start to make necessary preparations because soon you are headed to the place where you plan to give birth.
You call your family, the sitter, your doula and you pack the car - you may even announce on social media that your baby is coming today!
Everyone arrives excited about the news - you are gathering up the last few items you’ll need when you notice with all of the excitement of visitors you haven’t had a contraction in 20 minutes or so…you tell your partner you want to wait it out to make sure…and sure enough, they fizzle out. Just like last night.
You call you provider the following day and they tell you
“It’s just false labor”
WHAT? What is this? What is wrong with me, my body? Is there something wrong with my baby? This feels like labor, looks like labor - why does it keep stopping? Was I just imagining all of that? How will I know when its time?!
But, it isn’t “false” labor, there is nothing false about it. Every contraction does something. Whether or not it ends in a baby(this time), these practice runs are important - they may be toning the uterus, moving the cervix from posterior to anterior, thinning or maybe even dilating the cervix. Which is beneficial when baby decides to come.
WELCOME to: P R O D R O M A L L A B O R - according to Wikipedia prodromal labor is defined as:
“Pre-labor, also called "prodromal labor," consists of the early signs before labor starts. It is the body's preparation for real labor. Prodromal labor has been misnamed as “false labor." Prodromal labor begins much as traditional labour but does not progress to the birth of the baby.”
Nobody knows exactly why some women get prodromal labor.
Here are some of the most common reasons birth professionals think you may be experiencing prodromal labor and what you can do to help.
In the meantime - treat yourself to some YOU time. After all, there will be a new baby to tend do very soon (even if you feel you're never going to give birth) BUT, I assure you, you are.
“I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it.” ~ Art Williams
In the doula spirit,