Labor: When Is it the Real Thing?
To act as a dilating wedge against the cervix, the infant’s head must push against it with a rhythmic force. The force must be sufficient, but the rhythm must be unremitting.
If contractions are irregular, coming first every 12minutes, then every two, then every 16n, the rhythm is ineffective. Onset of real labor is more likely with contractions every eight minutes like clockwork, even though this is a longer duration than the two minutes that was part of the disorganized sequence first described.
A sure sign that it is time to head to the hospital is the development of a clockwork rhythm in your contractions.
Bleeding is never considered normal, except a little spotting after an exam. A pregnant woman should report any bleeding or go to the hospital when it occurs. Luckily, this is a sign of imminent labor, as a dilating cervix sometimes disrupts tiny blood vessels within it.
Breaking Your Water
Rupture of amniotic membranes (the bag of waters) is another mandatory reason to check in with a doctor. If fluid can come out, bacteria can get in, and it’s only a matter of time before infection can jeopardize a baby and mother.
Leaking of fluid carries the same importance. Spontaneous active labor usually begins when this happens, and most deliveries, inductions and otherwise, beat out most infections that may develop.
In review, the big three signs that it is time to get one moving are:
- rhythmic contractions
- leakage of fluid
You may still be sent home undelivered, but you did everything right because you followed the rules (I always say it’s better to be sent home many times than to deliver at home unintentionally).
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