How are labor contractions?

Labor contractions are one of the most anticipated signs for pregnant women whose due date is near.

Changes in a woman's body, when the birth of a child approaches, generate many doubts related to the start of labor: the expulsion of the mucous plug, the expulsion of a liquefied vaginal discharge, the "lower abdomen", less perception of fetal movements, …

But without a doubt, the sign that generates the most doubts and which women expect the most is the contractions. These when they meet certain aspects can cause the triggering of labor, but … do we know how to identify it?

In this article we want to show you some differences of the contractions in the last weeks so you can act in the most appropriate way.

Pródromos of childbirth or false childbirth

Labor contractions are movements of the uternine musculature that are perceived with frequent and regular pains.

In order to know if labor contractions have appeared, the first thing is to know what they are. The contractions, as its name suggests, are contractures of the uterine muscle or myometrium. These contractions exert a force from the upper part of the uterus and direct the baby towards the lower part, where the cervix or cervix is ​​located.

In the last weeks of pregnancy it is common to perceive changes and symptoms that will favor the process of childbirth. One of the most prominent symptoms is the appearance of the famous contractions. But not all contractions are related to the phases of dilation, process of birth and birth of the baby.

The body needs to prepare before and does it progressively, especially when it is the first delivery. So, the contractions that you feel during The phase of pródromos of childbirth or false birth has as main characteristic the irregularity.

It is very common that in the last stage of pregnancy there are doubts when you begin to feel that the abdomen hardens at certain times of the day and, On some occasions, cramping or menstrual pain is perceived. These discomforts usually create some alarm, which entails to exhaustively control the signs that appear.

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What should I do if I have prodrome of labor

Techniques such as massage or hot water baths can reduce contractions of false delivery.

As a main characteristic of this phase of pregnancy, the discomfort they usually disappear when changing posture or when reducing physical activity. There are certain behaviors that can reduce the degree of perceived discomfort and promote well-being.

  • Hot water baths or showers. It is not necessary that the water temperature is very high. Each woman will set the temperature of the required temperature, having to perceive a pleasant temperature.
  • Use ball Fitball for back and hip stretches. It is necessary to sit on said ball with the legs at 90º angles in relation to the thigh and an angle of approximately 180º of leg opening. Thus, lateral, circular and front to back movements will be performed.
  • Massages in the lower back. To perform them, you need the help of a relative or friend who exercises circular massage, using a little natural oil, such as almonds, calendula or Aloe vera.

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Identify labor contractions

As labor contractions progress in time and increase in intensity, the force exerted on the cervix will cause the cervix to dilate, this will favor the appearance of labor symptoms with the consequent decrease of the baby and his birth.

To know if the signs you have are labor contractions and differentiate it from false birth, you have to know some specific characteristics

  • The regularity Labor contractions must be regular in frequency and intensity. A rhythm maintained over time is needed to be able to identify that the birth process is beginning. It must be ensured that such regularity exists in a minimum time of one hour.
  • The duration. Each contraction must last one minute from its beginning until the disappearance of it.
  • The perception. All contractions are perceived in one way or another by women. They do not go unnoticed. Pain is not the outstanding sign because it is a subjective factor.

What should I do if I have labor contractions?

If they are finally perceived as labor contractions, keep calm and go to your maternity emergency service.

  • Keep calm.
  • Control the characteristics of contractions with a clock.
  • If fetal movements are detected, it must provide serenity.
  • Notify a family member to accompany you.
  • Take the basket, suitcase and pregnancy tracking history.
  • Go to the maternity and child emergency department of the hospital where you have decided to be seen.