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What to Expect In Early Labor

Keep Calm and Labor On!

The last weeks of pregnancy sometimes feel very long. You may have contractions at times that make you wonder if this could be “it”. Contractions may stop or your labor may be in its early stages. You may start to feel frustrated if you go to the hospital, only to be sent home to wait for labor to begin.
If you go to the hospital for a labor check here is what to expect:

  • You will be examined in the triage area
  • Your nurse will put your baby on a fetal monitor to evaluate your labor
  • The nurse will communicate with your doctor or midwife
  • Active labor begins once you are dilated to 6cm
  • You may be sent home if you are less than 6cm and you and your baby are healthy

This information can help you cope with early labor discomfort.

  • From checkups to contraception, baby and family care through menopause, our experts are here for complete support for women of all ages. The Lee Health women's health clinic is here to help with gynecology and obstetrics. Visit one our locations in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Estero.

When Should You Go To the Hospital?

Go to the maternity department of the hospital if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding
  • If your water breaks, or your have wetness in your underwear
  • When you are having strong contractions that you cannot walk, talk or text through
  • When contractions occur every 5 min lasting at least 60 seconds, for one hour, despite activity or rest.
  • If you feel that your baby is moving less than normal

Remember to ask your healthcare provider for specific instructions about when he or she should be called and under what conditions.

Staying Comfortable

Here are some tips to help you through this time, whether you are in early labor or just feeling uncomfortable.

As contractions get stronger, here are some tips for coping with labor:

  • Rock in a rocking chair
  • Take a shower or a bath
  • Relax between contractions; take deep, slow breaths
  • Keep moving
  • Dance slowly
  • Use lip balm on dry lips; suck on a sour lollipop or popsicle
  • Meditate
  • Watch a funny video on YouTube
  • Use the bathroom often
  • For lower backache, alternate heat and cold packs on your back

If labor has stopped or slowed down:

  • Sleep or rest
  • Get a foot, hand, back or shoulder massage
  • Drink water and light snacks unless you have nausea
  • Go for a short walk, shopping or to a movie

Pay attention to your baby’s movements and daily Kick Counts

For More Information Contact  Your Provider or Local Hospital:

Cape Coral: (239) 424-2217

HealthPark: (239) 343-6097

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