Prodromal Labor

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loveemom's picture
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Prodromal Labor

I have seen some of you ladies mention prodromal labor, what is that? Is it like braxton hicks?

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It's more productive than braxton hicks. It's the beginning stages of labor- basically, it's like braxton hicks contraction that are actually a part of productive labor. For most women it precedes "real" labor by maybe a couple days. For odd balls like me, it goes on for weeks (or very rarely, months), VERY slowly dilating and effacing and bringing baby down.

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"jooniper" wrote:

It's more productive than braxton hicks. It's the beginning stages of labor- basically, it's like braxton hicks contraction that are actually a part of productive labor. For most women it precedes "real" labor by maybe a couple days. For odd balls like me, it goes on for weeks (or very rarely, months), VERY slowly dilating and effacing and bringing baby down.

I am a weird o too. It's been a couple weeks for me too. A nice contraction pattern that doesn't really hurt, just tease you into thinking that maybe something is actually going to happen. I did have a 6 hour labor last time after about a month of it, so I suppose it was worth it.

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"jooniper" wrote:

It's more productive than braxton hicks. It's the beginning stages of labor- basically, it's like braxton hicks contraction that are actually a part of productive labor. For most women it precedes "real" labor by maybe a couple days. For odd balls like me, it goes on for weeks (or very rarely, months), VERY slowly dilating and effacing and bringing baby down.

Put me in the months category. It's very annoying, but it is actually doing something. The hospital likes to call it "false labor" or "latent labor". I hate the term false labor because there is nothing false about it. There's more going on in your body preparing for birth such as moving your cerivix from posterior to anterior, effacement, and dilation as Jooniper said. But it's also trying to get your baby in a good position for labor.

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"~Kristina~" wrote:

Put me in the months category. It's very annoying, but it is actually doing something. The hospital likes to call it "false labor" or "latent labor". I hate the term false labor because there is nothing false about it. There's more going on in your body preparing for birth such as moving your cerivix from posterior to anterior, effacement, and dilation as Jooniper said. But it's also trying to get your baby in a good position for labor.

This, the bolded, totally bugs me! DH calls it the same thing. I actually yelled at him for calling it that this last time because it's not false labor, like i'm some paranoid mom thinking every little twinge is labor. They used this term on me 12 hours before I went into real labor with my last DS. False labor my eye!:mad:

I do it for about 4 weeks before I have my baby. Like others have said it's really annoying and gets your hopes up but it is doing a good thing. My second baby was born after 4 weeks of it with only 6 hours of labor 4 of those hours were good regular contractions. So even though it is annoying, especially when you are so anxious to meet your little one, it does do some good.

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I'll just jump on the "prodromal labor is a pain" bandwagon. I've never experienced it before, but I get the lovely joy of it this pregnancy.

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i'm pretty sure thats what i had with DD, but i never felt like i was having any "tightenings" or contractions, just discomfort occasionally, like especially after DTD or long days at work, and for a few hours i would just feel off or tired or occasionally like walking laps around wal-mart... like that made it all flow better than sitting did. but i was already at a 3 by 37 weeks, 4 by 38 weeks and when i went to the hospital at 38 weeks having nicely timed contractions they petered out but the OB on call had them give me ambien and keep me for the night... good because i got sleep, bad because i seriously dont remember anything between 12:30 that night at 7:30 the next morning even though i hadn't slept that long a stretch in YEARS so i know i got up to pee, i just dont remember doing it... so i dont like ambien unless i have insomnia....ANYWAY, in the morning i was dilated to 6-7 and i let the break my water even though i wasnt really even in labor and DD was born less that 5 hrs later. so i feel that all the little work and small discomfort leading up to it was worth it to have a relatively short (if train wreck like) labor.

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I think the terminology that is in common use doesn't accurately describe what labor is like for a very large percentage of women. In my time on this board, I have learned that it is very common for contractions that feel JUST like the contractions you have in active labor to start and stop for days or weeks before the baby is born. I think there is a common misconception in our culture (which I think comes partly from innacurate portrayals of birth in the media and our lack of experience with real women in labor before we give birth ourselves) that as soon as contractions are "painful" (which I don't like because I prefer to think of it as intense pressure) it means the baby is coming NOW, which is why so many women go to the hosptial too early, and if the hosptial doesn't send them home like they should, they end up with pitocin--I think sometimes they wouldn't even have given birth that day at all and the contrax would have gone away...I think I need to write a blog post about this...

I don't like the language "false labor", but "prodromal labor" is not much better, if you look up the definiton of "prodromal"...

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i figure all contractions are doing SOMETHING, just because we can't measure it and dont know what they are doing until say... a baby comes out.... doesnt mean a damn thing. but i wouldnt know what to call it either.

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"MrsMangoBabe" wrote:

I think the terminology that is in common use doesn't accurately describe what labor is like for a very large percentage of women. In my time on this board, I have learned that it is very common for contractions that feel JUST like the contractions you have in active labor to start and stop for days or weeks before the baby is born. I think there is a common misconception in our culture (which I think comes partly from innacurate portrayals of birth in the media and our lack of experience with real women in labor before we give birth ourselves) that as soon as contractions are "painful" (which I don't like because I prefer to think of it as intense pressure) it means the baby is coming NOW, which is why so many women go to the hosptial too early, and if the hosptial doesn't send them home like they should, they end up with pitocin--I think sometimes they wouldn't even have given birth that day at all and the contrax would have gone away...I think I need to write a blog post about this...

I don't like the language "false labor", but "prodromal labor" is not much better, if you look up the definiton of "prodromal"...

Medical model of care - everything deserves a name and a diagnoses. It can't just be "you're body is preparing its self for labor". :roll: And AGREED!! Wink I think I love you! lol

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Now after doing more reading getting ready for this LO, I think I had it with DS. I started getting BH at 33 weeks. At some points they were so regular like contractions I had to go get monitored. I was 5cm before I went into labor. So, I'm guessing I had it. As a big of a pain in the butt that it was, I wouldn't mind it again if I get a similar labor to my first. Smile

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Thanks for explaining! I wonder if prodromal labor is what my midwife has been calling "toning contractions". I think I may have had prodromal labor with my other kids. And that's why I was induced at 36 weeks with my first, because doc couldn't stop contractions (although I now know I wasn't ready and not dilated at all). Hmmm.

I've been having a lot of contractions this past week. I'm sure everything is fine, not regular or timable, but they seem to go on forever. Many of them are quite uncomfortable too. Usually its after being fairly active. So I wonder if its not the start of prodromal labor.

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I like the term "toning contractions", that really discribes it best without the worry of "my body is sort of in labor, why won't reallly real labor start?", less anxiety. I'll have to remember that!

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"HockeyTownMom" wrote:

I like the term "toning contractions", that really discribes it best without the worry of "my body is sort of in labor, why won't reallly real labor start?", less anxiety. I'll have to remember that!

Yeah, I completely agree!

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I wish I would have known these things!

I had contractions from 29 weeks on and they would come in regular intervals. Of course I got slapped on bedrest and given medicine from 31-34 weeks............. and then induced at 39 weeks for a "big baby"

stupid OBs

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I had strong contractions starting at 29 weeks that had us all concerned, so I was on bedrest - we were worried about too much of the toning and prep happening too soon. At 35 weeks I came off bedrest and immediately thought I was in labor - hours of contractions that I couldn't walk through. The 'rents came, Dad took Sam and Mom went to the hospital with Dan and me. I got a shot of terbutaline because 35 weeks isn't exactly optimal. 37 weeks I had the same thing happen, but this time while at the hospital they petered out. Tom was born on his due date only about 4 or 5 hours after I woke up in active labor - and by then I knew that it was definitely not just "toning contractions" (I like that too).

I had one trip to the hospital with Sam too - laying down, standing up, drinking tons of water - none of it stopped it so we assumed it was real. I did shave my legs before going - that might be a good indicator that even if you are in labor you're not close enough to delivering to actually head to the hospital Lol

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Just wanted to chirp in, I totally agree with PP that all contractions are productive, our bodies are conditioning a rarely used set of muscles from couch potato to marathon runner in only 9 months!! Every contraction is doing something for you or your baby and having them dismissed as "false" would make me fly off the handle.

I also agree that our culture has a weird conception of contractions that most first time moms probably find confusing. I had contractions every day from 35 weeks on with DS. Every afternoon, 8 minutes apart. And they were the kind I had to breathe through, too, not just my tummy tightening up from the outside. If a first time mom is taught that all uterine discomfort and contraction is a sign of impending labor it is no wonder so many end up being induced before their body is really ready.

On top of that, I bet it comes as a extra surprise to first timers with no experience or support when they start early labor, go to the OB, he tries to stop them so she thinks, "oh, ok, so that was what labor feels like." And then 3 weeks later when they start active labor they are totally unprepared for the intensity. I mean my weeks of early labor would make me stop talking and focus, but my active labor? Took me to a whole nother place. The intensity of active labor was nothing compared to the discomfort of early contractions. So if you set your baseline for contractions early in the game no wonder it is frightening when active labor starts.

It all makes me happy for a resource like preg.org, where women can share and learn from each other. Pregnancy is one of those times when being part of a community of women is SOOO important.

On a personal note, DH has learned my contraction face, apparently. The other day I had a set while sitting on the couch and it only took him one look at me to get up and go get me a big glass of water. What a good DH, right?

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Here too....I've had it as early as 32 weeks....so strong the midwife was scared that I was going into labor Smile He baked longer and came at 36 1/2 weeks that time. I agree it does something...but I have a very tipped cervix....so once I hit 36 weeks....I'll start the lifting of the belly during contractions so it REALLY does something....if the head isn't on the cervix...it doesn't do much for me. Last baby...my midwife arrived and checked me and couldn't even FIND my cervix....did the walk and hold belly routine...1 hr later I was between 7 and 8 cm Smile

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I'll just ditto you other ladies. Smile I'm one of the ones who considers herself 'in labour' from about 35 weeks onward. With my first, I didn't know any better, went to the hospital at 36 weeks, yadda yadda, cascade of interventions, daughter was born early. With #2 I knew better and just 'dealt' with it... from 35-41.5 weeks! (although, all those contrax were lovely in the end, because I started the active/difficult labour at 5cm! It's like bonus dilation!) I still had to breath through them, but they never became so intense that I felt like his birth was imminent. That's really my benchmark for calling the m/w - when I just KNOW a babe is on it's way out. Smile

This time I'm not having as many BH as I did with the other two, so I'm interested to see if I end up with similar slooooow dilation and then fast active labour again, or if I'm in for a doozy of a marathon labour like I've seen many other women have. I guess only time will tell!