Early Labor at Home
Latent labor (when the cervix is dilated from 0 to 4 centimeters) is a very unpredictable phase. For some women it is a short interval and for others it can be very prolonged. Northwestern Medical Group obstetricians believe it is best to do the early phase of labor at home where you are most comfortable, if possible. Laboring at home also ensures the likelihood that once you arrive at the hospital you will be in active labor and unlikely to be sent back home.
What do I do at home in early labor?
Rest as much as possible. If your labor begins at night, try and stay in bed until it is no longer comfortable. Once it is no longer comfortable to rest in bed, try the following to ease your discomfort: walking, taking a warm shower or bath or putting a heating pad on your lower abdomen or back.
Can I eat or drink if I think I am in labor?
Your body is preparing for a very physical event and needs food for fuel. If you become dehydrated it can adversely affect the progression of your labor. Eat foods that are easily digested such as:
If you feel nauseated, consume only liquids.
It is important to remain hydrated while in labor. In addition to water, aim to drink one glass of fluids with sugar every hour such as:
An easy way to know if you are well hydrated is to check the color of your urine. In a well-hydrated person it will be pale yellow to clear. If you are dehydrated it will be bright yellow or orange.
How do I time my contractions?
Begin timing your contractions once they become uncomfortable. Clock the time at the beginning of each contraction. When in labor with your first baby, once the contractions are consistent every 4 to 5 minutes and increase in intensity for an hour, you should call the office. If this is not your first delivery, discuss with your provider at which point in your contractions you should call the office.
How will I know the REAL labor?
In real labor the contractions are more frequent and become progressively stronger. Real labor is unaffected by your movement, you will notice if you lay down the contractions do not subside.
When should I call?
Call our office at (312) 926-8811 when you are experiencing one or more of the following: