Stages of Childbirth Labor
Herbs For Labor Induction
The Whirlwind of Labor and Childbirth
Labor Contractions
Labor Cramp
Food During Labor
Labor Nurse
Labor Pain
Natural Labor
Pregnancy Labor Stages
Prodromal Labor
Signs of Labor
Walking and Labor Induction Facts
What to Pack For Labor and Delivery

Labor Cramp

Cramps in early pregnancy

Most women are anxious about the onset and pain of labor cramps, some will experience ‘practice cramps’ or ‘Braxton Hicks’ throughout or towards the end of their pregnancy, these may be felt in the lower abdomen and often stop when she moves about or has a rest. If mum has been moving about then resting for half an hour may reduce or stop the cramps, on the other hand if mum has been lying down then walking about will reduce the cramping. These cramps may feel like menstrual pain, are usually in the lower abdomen and whilst uncomfortable they are a normal reaction to the changes happening inside.

Some women experience these cramps from the very first months of pregnancy and they will become familiar and even accepted - but if the pain is particularly bad, there is any sign of bloody discharge or the pain is felt mostly in the back then they should not be ignored.

Cramps in the final trimester

Most pregnant women will experience labor cramps in the final trimester, and they can be frightening if they are painful and baby is not due for a few more weeks. Researchers have proposed that these ‘practice’ cramps are simply training the muscles of the uterus to prepare the body for delivery but this has not been proven, they may simply be adjustments being made by the whole reproductive system as the fetus grows and hormones change.

If these cramps occur toward the very end of pregnancy then mum will probably think the real thing has started, but the pain will usually be irregular and difficult to time, the cervix will not be dilated so if the cramps are very painful and do not go away after a while then contact your medical advisor and take advice about going to get it checked out via a simple pelvic examination. Don’t be concerned about wasting other peoples time, specialist nurses and birthing centers are quite accustomed to dealing with these false alarms and it is always best to seek advice.

If labor is really ready to begin then the pain will become more intense and probably be felt across the back as well as the abdomen. They will come in definite ‘waves’ although they may be 30mins or more apart they will become measurable and last for between 30 and 90 seconds each time. Most women manage to carry on with their normal activities, playing with other children, preparing dinner and of course checking the bags are ready for the trip to hospital. Is may be a good idea to have a healthy small meal at this stage to make sure that energy levels are high as from this point on it will be for the medical team to decide what foods can be consumed.

From this point on most people will refer to the cramps as ’contractions’, the frequency of each pain will increase and become regular.

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