Here is my advice and knowledge:
0-4 cms (some say 6 cms) is Prodromal Labor
- Timings of contractions are anywhere from 20 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart…and it can jump around
- Physical-uterus gets tight and there is tightness at top of uterus too when you have a contraction
- What to do-stay home as long as you can, learn how to ride the waves of the contractions, be prepared to go when you don’t have enough hot water to take showers to relax or when contractions are somewhere between 5-1-1 and 3-1-1
- Timings: contractions become regular, as if you can set a watch to it, generally 5 mins apart to start
- Physical Quality of contraction changes. Usually at about 4 cms you need to be focusing on breathing into contraction when it happens where before you didn’t have to. You may not be able to talk during a contraction due to focusing.
- What to do– begin thinking about how to gracefully transition into next location if there is one. Ie, going to the hospital or if birthing at home getting into the labor tub or ?? “Water” (amniotic fluid) can Break anytime (this is the fluid that the baby pees out. Sometimes before contractions start, sometimes after the baby is fully out. This can be a small rip and act like a leak or it can be the Hollywood gush like a broken pickle jar. If water breaks before labor starts then drink lots of water so the baby has fluid to relax in and contractions have some cushioning.
7-10 cms is transition
- Timings-usually about 3 mins apart going to closer together
- Physical-Quality of contractions change and getting into cat position can be quite helpful
- What to do-as the adrenaline kicks in remember that energy is what you will use to help the baby Trust your body and baby to know “what to do” DNA carries the information transition all the way through the birth canal
Baby travelling down canal
- Timings-contractions can often get longer apart
- Physical – Quality of contraction changes try different position and trust your body to tell you what is working
- What to do– Breathe, follow the body’s urges and remember that the baby is working as well to come out…it is not all up to mom. Baby can hear and know dad’s voice so dad can send encouraging words to baby. Nurse baby as soon as possible for best latch, best within 1 hour as they get sleepy from all the work they did to be born.