What is prodromal labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-09-2006, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am 37 wks pg with my second child. In both this pregnancy, and my first, I've had lots and lots (and lots and lots) of braxton hicks--early and often! Now that I am in late pg, the bhc are quite uncomfortable and fairly regular. So I am wondering, what is the difference between prodromal labor and late stage bhc? My dd's labor began with a gush of my water breaking--followed by hard, productive contractions 5 minutes later--so I didn't have an experience of labor beginning with "light" contractions. Just wondering if there would be a marked diff between my bhc and prodromal labor.
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#2 of 15 Old 12-09-2006, 07:25 PM
 
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I don't know if this will help, but according to my midwife, if the contractions are regular (even if they're small), then they're "real" contractions, not Braxton-Hicks. I tend to start having small contractions every 5 minutes at 30 weeks - yikes! So I do the bedrest thing for a while. Then just a few days after 37 weeks, when I no longer am restricted, and I'm having the same little, 5 minute apart contractions but don't lay down to stop them, my water breaks. I then have a long (12+ hour) phase of the same contractions before we "induce" (by using the breastpump) to get things going. My MW only counted the start of labor as when my water broke, but I think my prodromal labor is mild and starts a few days before. It's been like this with both of my 2 kids. So, moral of the story is contractions don't have to be big to make changes. I think the regularity is more of an indicator than the strength.

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#3 of 15 Old 12-09-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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from my understanding, prodromal labor is consistent contractions. many women interpret this as early labor & are very frustrated when they discover there has been no dilation or effacement of the cervix. prodromal labor can last a few hours to a few days but eventually leads into early stage labor. braxton hicks are more intermittant, come & go, and aren't a precursor to labor. how do you know you're having bh's & not prodromal labor? i think the key is that you know you're having bh's. most women think, "yippee! baby is coming!" when prodromal labor begins & are dissapointed & frustrated when Baby doesn't come soon. does this make sense?

(mtncanary & i were posting at the same time! her explanation seems to make a little more sense.....)

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#4 of 15 Old 12-09-2006, 10:53 PM
 
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I had prodromal labor with my last three kids.

#2 I had very mild, but very regular contractions for a couple days, then one night I had an hour and a half of serious contractions - tightening all over and the pulling sensation really low. The next morning, I still had very light (so light I couldn't feel them if I was upright, sitting or walking around), regular cntx coming 7 min apart for an hour, then suddenly, every 3 min for half an hour before I went to the hospital (mainly because I was excited, not because I thought the baby was coming). I was dilated to 4cm and because of the regular cntx, they said I was in labor and I got an epidural. They broke my water because nothing was happening - duh! I wasn't really in labor! Now I know I could've gone days, or weeks, without having the baby!

#3 I had labor like contractions in boughts, lasting a couple hours once or more a day. That started about 2-3 weeks before my due date. And they were gradually changing my cervix, by the time I went in to be induced, I was 6cm.

#4 I wised up and stayed home, so I wasn't checked as much. At one month before my "due date" I could feel the changes start happening. I had regular contractions, just about daily for a month. At one point, I did get checked because I was curious and I was 4cm. That was at least two weeks before I went into baby producing labor. I don't know what I was at when I woke up in labor "for real" but he was born 3 hours later, and those contractions were actually more spaced out and irregular - like 10 - 15 minutes. They never got any closer than that.

With the last two, there was no difference in the intensity of contractions over those last weeks, compared to the contractions I had when the baby was actually close to being born. That's just the way I labor - in spurts...at the grocery store, driving, visiting friends, etc. Frustrating then, but I've decided I won't be frustrated by them this time (if it happens that way again).
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#5 of 15 Old 12-09-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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I endured prodromal labor with my third. It was consistant, often continued even when I did all those things you're supposed to do to test for real labor...eating, changing position, using the bathroom, etc. One day they were especially persistant and I had my doula come out, only for the contractions to peter out once she arrived. They came back when we stimulated pressure points, and I usually had slightly stronger contractions after a mug of red raspberry leaf tea, but nothing came out of them.

I had the same concerns - I was sure I wouldn't be able to tell the difference once active labor started. Some of those BH contractions were pretty painful, and the only thing that kept me sane was the hope that my actual labor would be shorter because of all the cntx I had already had. However, I was fairly sure when I was in real labor because a contraction actually woke me up from a deep sleep, then I saw some bloody show when I used the bathroom.

Contractions should get harder, longer, and closer together...even if yours are consistant, they are probably not real labor unless they have those three qualities.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-10-2006, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the insights!

The thing is, the bhx have changed so much in the past week or so. Really intense....and that "pulling sensation" down low. I would be shocked if they are not causing cervical changes. In fact, I am sure they are, because I am passing bits of mucus plug. But with dd, I passed a huge glob of mucus plug a full 2 weeks before she was born!

These contractions would never send me to the hospital (I am having a hosp birth). But they do leave me wondering--is it soon? Is this the beginning? Is it starting? I think it is the beginning.....but the process still may take a couple weeks or so
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#7 of 15 Old 12-10-2006, 11:03 AM
 
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I think the tendancy to "do" prodromal labor is more than we all think.

This is a great group of info. http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/prodromal.html Although, ignore the whole parts about thinking it's the woman holding back. Sure that happens with some women, but they're ignoring the large group of us that just labor this way!

With so much Prodromal labor I usually get confused late pregnancy. This is what I learned from my 3rd and I would repeat it to myself often. I'd tell myself - It's not real unless the ctx are further apart and they [b]hurt[b]. Hearing that helped.

Usually my prelabor would have ctx gradually going from 4 mins apart down to 2 minutes apart. From 20 seconds length to 90 seconds in length, all according to standard labor definitions. but, it was wasn't labor. It's just what my body does.

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#8 of 15 Old 12-11-2006, 05:24 PM
 
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i had prodromal labor with my first two children and i am expecting it with this one as well. i contracted for 3 weeks with my first, even progressing a centimeter a week until giving birth two weeks after my due date.

with my second i started contracting on sept 11th and didnt give birth until oct 2nd! i was a bit over 4 cms before my actual labor began.

one side note, a good majority of women that have prodromal labor have faster active labors and very speedy transition times...my labors were both 3 hours long.

good luck!

Heavily tattooed and Dready Mama to my girls. YES we are STILL NURSING! love to and
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#9 of 15 Old 05-17-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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Prodromal labor is also called false labor. As woman is near due date, you she might begin to experience what she thinks are the beginnings of true labor: contractions, lightening, or loss of the mucus plug. But even though all these signs are in place, she may be experiencing what is termed prodromal or false labor.
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#10 of 15 Old 05-17-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spark View Post
I think the tendancy to "do" prodromal labor is more than we all think.

This is a great group of info. http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/prodromal.html Although, ignore the whole parts about thinking it's the woman holding back. Sure that happens with some women, but they're ignoring the large group of us that just labor this way!

With so much Prodromal labor I usually get confused late pregnancy. This is what I learned from my 3rd and I would repeat it to myself often. I'd tell myself - It's not real unless the ctx are further apart and they [b]hurt[b]. Hearing that helped.

Usually my prelabor would have ctx gradually going from 4 mins apart down to 2 minutes apart. From 20 seconds length to 90 seconds in length, all according to standard labor definitions. but, it was wasn't labor. It's just what my body does.
THIS IS EXACTLY what I am going through. I can contract every 4 min apart for up to 8 -9 hours but I go nowhere from there. I have learned to fall asleep by relaxing and eventually I can actually sleep without waking up with the pain and by morning I am back to normal. They are VERY regular, very close, painful but not I am horribly in pain I can't stand it painful and they do tend to help me efface and dilate a bit but very slownly.
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#11 of 15 Old 05-17-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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With my last pregnancy (and this one) I've had really regular, timeable contractions that wouldn't go away no matter what I did for long periods of time. They felt like period cramps, basically just more forceful. It sounds like mine were just like yours, I was actually dilated and partially effaced for about a week. With my first, it was confusing because everything I had read said that they should stop unless I was really in labor so I called the midwife almost on a regular basis trying to figure out if it was real or not! She told me if you can talk through them, it's probably not *real* labor yet. Once I was really in labor, that's exactly how it was for me. My water broke and within an hour I was having very intense, close together contractions that I had to actually focus on. So for me, the key to telling if it was labor was how much I had to pay attention to them, just like my midwife had said.

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#12 of 15 Old 05-18-2008, 04:20 PM
 
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I had prodromal with my last daughter. I always felt like it was my body pscyhing me out. My husband would call it false labor but my midwife would correct him and tell him that it was practice labor. It hurt like heck and you didn't get any reward for it. When my husband would call it false labor, she asked him how he would feel if we called his band practice false practice or pretend practice. He never called it that again!

Braxton hicks are a lot less painful whereas prodromal can be pretty painful.
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#13 of 15 Old 05-18-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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here's a definition I've found very helpful.

http://www.childbirthsolutions.com/a...abor/index.php

I know that personally I've been in early active labor (on and off) for over a week now. It is VERY tiring. The contractions (when they pick up) are well over 1 minute, often over 2. they're 5 min or less apart. I'm already at a +1 station, nearly fully effaced and well dilated. Just waiting for it to get together and seal the deal.

you have my sympathies!
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#14 of 15 Old 05-19-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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ummm, in a word: annoying! tho I really shouldn't complain because I am certain that because I have prodromal labor for about 2-4 weeks before labor day I have pretty short labors. My body just likes to do the work a little every day instead of saving it all up for one 24 hour (or so) period. Which actually is a lot like my personality anyway! Oh, my average labor is 2 hrs. Which is just perfect in my book! The annoying part of it all is when the PL goes on for hours and interrupts my sleep. Nothing like going into *real* labor with a huge sleep deficit! :
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#15 of 15 Old 05-19-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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Prodomal labor is not fun! I couldn't sleep the last 2 weeks I was pregnant with DS. there were regular contractions every 5 minutes for 2 weeks. The only difference with the labor contractions were that I had bloody show and then I started having slightly harder ones.

"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?"~Mary Oliver

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