There are different stages of labor that precedes the actual delivery of a healthy baby. There are three stages involved namely the first stage, second stage, and third stage. During the first stage, the mother will experience contractions that will increase in intensity as the labor progresses. The second stage is the delivery of the baby and the third stage is the delivery of the placenta.
Early Labor Contractions
During early labor, the mother will be in pain from the contractions that can last for a period of an hour or less to a period of days.
- Early labor is different from false labor or false contraction that is often known as Braxton-Hicks contractions.
- In early labor, the contractions begin to come in regular intervals.
- It is early during this part of the labor that the cervix begins its dilatation and effacing.
- At the start of early labor, the contractions are usually longer, stronger, and occur closer together.
- At the end of the early labor, the contractions will be longer, a lot stronger, and occur even closer together.
What do Early Labor Contractions Feel Like?
The trickiest part of contractions in the first stage of labor is in distinguishing it from false labor contraction or Braxton-Hicks contractions.
- A pregnant woman who is 37 weeks along in her pregnancy can expect the early stage of labor to begin at any time.
- Contractions during the early stage of labor are often painful and have even been likened to menstrual cramps.
- During the early stage of labor, women will still be able to tolerate the pain and still be able to do things and to even carry on a conversation.
- The contractions are often relieved by short walks, warm baths, or any method or activity that is relaxing to the woman.
- This early in labor, the woman may also notice an increase in discharge. In some cases, the discharges may even be blood-tinged.
- Note that when the water breaks in early labor and the woman is not yet feeling any contractions, medical consult should be sought immediately.
- The early stage of labor ends when the contractions start to progress, labor starts to progress, and the cervix is dilated to approximately 4 centimeters.
The Difference between Braxton Hicks Contractions and Early Labor Contractions
Many women go to the hospital thinking they are in true labor when in reality they are not. There are differences between false labor and true labor.
- False labor contractions are irregular with a varying frequencies, intensities, and intervals.
- False labor contractions can be relieved by activity while true labor contractions cannot.
- False contractions are usually limited to the front of the pelvis while true labor contraction pains can spread from the pelvis and radiate to the back.
- There is dilatation and effacement with true labor contractions.
- There is bloody show with true labor.