Many times pregnant women, especially first-timers, do not recognize the difference between prodromal contractions and labor contractions; therefore, the mother is alerted and goes to the hospital. Medically, a prodrome refers to those signs and symptoms that announce the approach of labor.
When the mother is close to the due date, her body gradually prepares to give birth to the baby. Some women identify this phase of pregnancy that generates the first contractions, which are known as prodromes of labor.
The cause of these discomforts is due to the fact that the cervix matures to be prepared for childbirth and since it is a stage where the baby’s head fits and presses, it is likely that the mother perceives punctures in the cervix in the pregnancy.
However, the signs are usually variable in each woman. Some come to present them a couple of weeks before delivery, others a few days or a few hours before the birth of the baby, everything will depend on the mother’s body.
How to identify prodromal contractions?
Possibly the mother, experiencing this type of contractions, will make her doubt whether she should run to the hospital or not. Prodromal symptoms stand out mainly as being bothersome contractions, for some women they are painful and for others they are not. But they should not be confused with isolated false Braxton Hicks contractions.
On the contrary, the prodromal term is present when the spasms are felt in the lower abdomen or in the groin and last between 15 and 20 seconds, less than the true contractions. When you are in labor, there are 2 or 3 intense contractions that last about a minute at an interval of 10 minutes and, unlike prodromal labor, they do not stop when the woman rests or changes position.
Thus, labor contractions are intense, rhythmic and progressive, but antepartum contractions are uncomfortable, without following a rhythm or being regular. By presenting these spasms the woman will continue to maintain a good appetite, but by having true labor contractions her desire to eat from her will disappear.
Another characteristic factor of prodromes is that in most cases they manifest at night, since it is the moment in which the body releases oxytocin. Similarly, these contractions could involve the loss of the mucous plug or cervical plug that is responsible for protecting the baby from infections.
The softening of the cervix also occurs and the stomach area is relieved, since the descent of the abdomen occurs and on some occasions, the woman could even show greater emotional sensitivity, since she considers that the moment of the baby’s birth is approaching.
Cervical changes during the prodrome phase
The neck of the uterus or cervix, at the beginning of prodromal contractions, will have a hard consistency like the tip of the nose, but once the spasms begin, it becomes semi-soft and finally soft.
Similarly, the cervix changes position throughout the prodrome phase. Initially it is hidden at the end of the vagina and later it is located in front, at the central level. In addition, of all these changes, the cervix is erased, since the contractions have a downward character that makes this area disappear.
Once the irregular contractions help transform the cervix, that is, soften it, efface it, and position it centrally, it begins to dilate, generating true labor contractions .
What to do before the prodromes?
Although the symptoms of prodromes vary from one delivery to another, it is important to distinguish between them to recognize which phase you are going through. Thus, if the mother considers that she is presenting labor prodromes and this leads to the expulsion of the mucous plug at week 40, she should pay attention to the characteristics of her contractions, without becoming distressed, and go to the emergency room. hospital.
Many hospitals do not admit the mother until her cervix is at least 3 cm dilated. Therefore, in the presence of prodromal contractions, there is no need to be alarmed, but it is advisable to maintain contact with a trusted doctor. This in turn, could perform an ultrasound in order to recognize the length of the cervix and if it is effaced or not. At the same time, he would take the opportunity to explore the baby’s condition. He will evaluate if he is not premature, if he has the right weight and if it is possible for the birth to be natural.
Some tips to keep in mind
Labor prodromes do not limit you from leading a normal life, on the contrary, you will be able to continue your daily routine with some precautions. In moderation, eat when you feel hungry. Carry out your domestic activities, especially those that invite you to be on the move safely, as they will be tasks that will help you distract your mind and spend it in the best way until delivery.
When you feel these contractions, you may find it easier to flex your hips by placing one foot on a chair while the other is flat on the floor. Also, it is important that you rest in bed, taking the Sims position. That is, lying on one side of her body with the lower leg straight and the opposite leg flexed on a cushion or pillow. A healthy position that will allow you to cope with spasms. The opportune thing is to alternate the postures (lateral or horizontal decubitus) when resting, to favor the decongestion of the pelvic area and contribute to the labor developing naturally.
It is also advisable to keep the body hydrated and, above all, take advantage of this phase to practice breathing and relaxation techniques. Which will help the mother when giving birth.
As a mother-to-be, you will always seek to offer your little one the greatest comfort and safety from the womb, either by wearing pregnancy belts, resting the necessary hours, having a good diet, practicing a yoga routine and, above all, staying informed to recognize when comes the time of birth.