As you are counting down the days to your delivery date during your pregnancy you will eventually be waiting for labor contractions. Labor contractions are a process that your body goes through to prepare to deliver your baby. Contractions are the process of stretching your cervix. Your cervix will eventually dilate up to centimeters when you finally deliver. If this is your first baby, you will likely have no idea what a contraction feels like. Contractions are painful, and they can often be confused with Braxton Hicks.
How strong will the first labor contraction be?
Your first labor contraction will be painful but it’s not that bad because it’s so early in your labor process. So, if you have felt Braxton Hicks during your pregnancy this will be more painful. On a scale from 1 to 10 your early labor contractions will be between 1 and 4. The pain will come from your lower back and cervix area. The first thing you should do is find a comfortable environment to be in. You can start timing your contractions if you’d like. We highly recommend using a contraction timer app, because it will help you count the time between contractions as well as the duration of each contraction.
How far apart will labor contractions be in the beginning?
The time between labor contractions varies for different women. Your contractions can be quite far apart, meaning ten to twenty minutes. You don’t need to start timing your contractions until they start to become regular and closer together. You should start keeping track of your contractions once they intensify in pressure and become closer in their cycles. We suggest timing your contractions once they become less than 10-15 minutes apart. As your labor contractions progress they should be becoming more painful. There will likely be many hours of labor contractions before you actually deliver your baby. Therefore, many women like to wait at home until their water breaks or contractions reach the point of dilating the cervix to 1-4 centimeters. If this is your first child, it may be difficult to measure how many centimeters your cervix is dilated. You can always call a nurse or go into the hospital early. While it may be annoying to be sent home from the hospital because you are not yet in labor, it’s better than arriving too late. The doctors sent us home with our first child and we returned further into labor about 6 hours later. Some doctors will say that you are not yet in labor, and others will determine that it’s time to get a bed and a room to prepare for labor. The important thing is that you are comfortable during the process.
Once labor contractions start is it possible that they will stop?
If you are truly having labor contractions than they should continue to increase in pressure and frequency in most cases. Labor contractions are a crucial part of the natural labor process. Once your labor contractions start, you should notify your friends and family that a baby is coming soon. It’s a good idea to call your hospital or labor delivery center to let them know where you are in your early labor stages. Nurses from the hospital like to know you are coming and can help notify the staff of your expected arrival. Labor contractions are a very good, natural sign that everything is going just as it should be.