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Pregnancy Month by Month Topics..

 
You are here : home > Pregnancy Month by Month > Ninth Month of Pregnancy > Pre-Labour and Onset of Labour

Pre-Labour and Onset of Labour

Prelabour and onset of labour are terms associated with ninth month of pregnancy. Here’s a complete guide to the different stages of labour and health status of the pregnant woman in each stage.


Childbirth is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary and unique occurrence that a woman has in her life. No two deliveries ever happen in exactly the same way. Once you are nearing the end of your pregnancy term, you ought to be prepared for the labour stage that will mark the onset of the birth process. There are three stages to it:

1. Stage 1The first stage of labour is known as the pre-labour or early stage where the cervix begins to dilate to around 3 to 10 cms.

 

2. Stage 2The second stage of labour is known as the active labour phase and a condition where the dilation exceeds 10 cm till the baby is completely out of the uterus.

 

3. Stage 3 – In the third stage of labour the placenta is delivered.

Each stage is an adventure of sorts for the mother and a plethora of emotions will be experienced in each one of them. Here is how you could deal with each of the stages.


The Pre-Labour Phase

This is a stage when one should have a calm mind and try to relax completely. You should be in a familiar environment and a soothing company. There is no need to rush and get yourself admitted at the hospital, but you must follow your doctor’s advice and never forget to monitor or keep a constant track of the contractions. Note the intensity and the pattern.

If this phase sets in early in the day, you can try to keep yourself relaxed and occupied with the regular routines of regular life. Make note that you must not exert yourself but conserve your energy for the big hour. Make sure that you keep yourself well hydrated as dehydration will not only cause other associated complications but also sap energy which is so required at this stage. You can also snack on small and easy to digest meals so as to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

If the pre-term labour begins during the night, it is a good idea to catch some sleep. If you are unable to do that, engage in some light activities like listening to music, reading or even packing some light items for your hospital stay.


Health Status

Following is the health status during the first stage of labour.

  • The early labour stage lasts for about 8-12 hours.
  • The contractions will be experienced for 30-45 seconds, with a 5-30 minutes of gap in between.
  • Contractions will start off as mild ones but get progressively intense and frequent.
  • Initially you will feel a lower back ache and cramps similar to what you feel during periods.
  • You will also feel intense pressure in the pelvic region.
  • The amniotic sac might rupture within or after the first stage of labour. You must report to the doctor the time of rupture and the colour of the fluid.
  • You might find it difficult, but you need to maintain your calm at this stage.


Active Labour Phase

You should head to the hospital at this stage. The contractions now will be more intense and frequent. You must maintain your calm and be provided with a lot of physical and mental support. A few simple relaxation and breathing exercises will help you feel better. Switch your positions often to attain the maximum comfort. Make sure that you are drinking a lot of water and a slight walk or a warm bath will help you relax a lot at this stage.


The Health Status

Let us have a look at the health status during the active labour phase.

  • This active labour stage will last for 3-5 hours.
  • The dilation of the cervix will be between 4-7 cm or even 10.
  • The contractions will be felt for 45-60 seconds with 3-5 minutes of gap in between.
  • The intensity and frequency will increase steadily

The family should note that at this stage, the woman would require plenty of emotional assurance and support. A light massage on her abdomen and lower back will help her to relax. Do not forget to monitor the contractions and it also helps if someone accompanies her with the breathing exercises; it will help her concentrate. Ensure her comfort with some prop up pillows.


Final Phase

During this stage the woman is completely dependant on her support person. It is a very short phase and a challenging one too. It is advisable to concentrate on the contractions one at a time and reminiscence on the journey of your pregnancy. Make sure you tell the support staff and your doctor when you feel like pushing.


Health Status

Have a quick look at the health status during the active labour phase.

  • This transition phase can last between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • The dilation of the cervix might be up to 10 cm or more.
  • The contractions are not only intense now, but they will also overlap.
  • There can be vomiting, feeling of nausea, accompanied by chills and hot flashes.

It is best to keep talking to the woman at this stage. This will make her feel better and also help to deviate her attention from the pain and discomfort. But avoid small talk, make sure that you are making her feel good, praise her and offer encouragement and support.

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