As a soon-to-be parent, one of the most important things you need to learn is the timing of real labor contractions. Understanding the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real labor contractions is key to knowing when it`s time to head to the hospital.
So, what exactly are real labor contractions? Real labor contractions are the regular, painful contractions that signal the start of labor. These contractions will gradually become stronger, longer, and closer together until the cervix is fully dilated.
To determine the timing of real labor contractions, you should pay attention to the frequency, duration, and intensity of the contractions. It is essential to figure out the regularity and consistency of the contractions to know precisely when your body is getting ready to deliver your baby.
Contractions are usually measured from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. The frequency of contractions should increase gradually as you reach the active phase of labor. On average, real labor contractions occur every 5-20 minutes and last between 45-60 seconds.
The duration of each contraction can be measured from the beginning of the contraction to the end. As labor progresses, the contractions will become longer, stronger, and more frequent. The intensity of contractions will peak during the transition phase of labor, which is when the cervix is fully dilated.
It is also essential to note that the pain of real labor contractions will increase as labor progresses. The pain will usually start in your lower back or abdomen and radiate to your thighs. Some women may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea during this time.
To ensure that you are timing your contractions correctly, use a stopwatch or watch with a second hand to measure the length of each contraction and the time between them. Keep a record of your contractions and note the time, duration, and intensity. This information will help you determine when it`s time to head to the hospital.
In conclusion, understanding the timing of real labor contractions is crucial for any expectant parent. By paying attention to the frequency, duration, and intensity of contractions, you will be better able to gauge when it`s time to go to the hospital. Remember to keep track of your contractions, stay calm, and trust your instincts. Good luck, and congratulations on your new arrival!