I’ve been delving into all your pressing questions about prodromal labor lately. I know it gets confusing, too, since this will be a short phase that could start the day before real labor for some of you.
But for others of you, you may have to deal with this for the entire final month of pregnancy. Not to worry, for, in that last month, you will have those weekly checkups with your doctor, who will check your cervix and all those other things to let you know what’s going on.
Prodromal labor does get your body ready for the ultimate labor event. But it also can be extremely painful at times. And if you have to endure it for a week or an entire month, it can get exhausting.
You’re not nuts, though, I promise. While this didn’t happen to me for that kind of length of time, it did happen to friends of mine. And through talking to them, talking to doctors and midwives, I’ve come up with a list of 7 tips that will help you ride out prodromal labor no matter how long it decides to drag out.
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1. Find a way to relax
I know what you’re thinking. Haha, Leslie, you’re hilarious. Yes, let’s try to relax while we’re in searing pain. Got it.
But you and I both know you really need to find a way to chill. Because it will do you no good to get all panicky and upset.
Breathing exercises may be helpful, but we are all different. What usually helps you relax? I’d turn to that exact thing to help you keep your calm.
Aromatherapy, soothing music, a foot massage…choose the things that help you feel relaxed and indulged and that can help you get your mind off of things.
2. Do some exercises to help the baby’s position
Sometimes, prolonged prodromal labor may be due to the position your baby currently has. Engaging in simple exercises or stretches can help the baby switch positions and move you faster into real labor.
Taking a walk can help though I urge you to go with someone at this stage of the game. This is because you may get just what you’re looking for – a push into actual labor. This is not always the case, so don’t be disappointed. However, having someone with you can help ensure you don’t trip or wobble over in your heavily pregnant state.
Curb walking is another thing you can do. I wrote about that here, so read up on doing it right.
3. Get some rest
Sleep can be insanely difficult when you’re having contractions from prodromal labor. When I was in the hospital with my eldest, I hadn’t dilated enough to deliver; they told me to get some rest.
I was so tired that I’d fall asleep and then promptly wake to scream from the pain. It’s awful. But you must try to rest the best you can. Take naps and laze about as much as is humanly possible while all this is happening.
You will not have contractions the entire time as they can stop, so when you get some peace, just sleep.
4. Have a nice soothing bath
A bath is another way to relax the mind and body. It may help soothe those contractions. Using lavender or chamomile essential oils can really help you unwind. Try to enjoy yourself soon; you’ll be too busy with the baby to even think about soaking in the tub.
5. Keep up your hydration and nutrition
In my FAQ section of a recent article on prodromal labor, I mentioned that women who have longer prodromal labor periods typically have shorter active labor. It is not always a guarantee, so don’t get your hopes up.
Still, if you’re going through prodromal labor, this is the time to get ready. You need plenty of fluids and nourishment. Drink your water and eat something nourishing, like fruits or vegetables.
Eat what is palatable yet healthy. Now is not the time for a double cheese pizza or burgers. Perhaps a smoothie could be ideal since you can sit back and sip it with a straw.
6. Find a way to laugh
Distractions are one of the best ways to get through prodromal labor. Watching something funny, like a movie that never fails to make you laugh, is a great idea. Or you can watch something romantic, or even a rom-com. That will help get your hormones going and send you into real labor faster.
7. Try a hot pack
The pains that go with prodromal labor are tough to ride out. A hot pack on your lower back may soothe some of those pains. You may also find it helpful on your pubic bone. Please don’t use it for more than 15 minutes at a time!
Talk to your doctor, midwife, or doula if you still have trouble dealing with prodromal labor. They will check if you’ve dilated or lost that mucus plug.
And remember, prodromal labor is a good sign. This is your body’s way of getting ready for that final showdown known as labor. It’s not easy enduring this, though, and you’re doing great. Just use these tips to help you along, and before you know it, you’ll be delivering that precious baby!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.