Starting Dilation, How Far Away Is Labor?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I have tried to ask my doctor some questions but it always seem as if they are too busy to answer them and I was hoping you could help me.

I am 35 week pregnant and was told at my last appointment that I am 1 cm dilated and my cervix is soft. What does this mean and does this mean I could go into labor anytime? They told me to rest and at 36 week I can stop bed rest.

Also I am carrying very low and seem to be contracting all the time but they do not hurt. My stomach just gets super hard all the time.

What are signs of labor is beginning that I can look for?

ANSWER

Most people experience the beginning of labor with contractions that get longer and stronger and closer together, and that are more painful over time and they don't change no matter what you do. Other signs that may or may not mean that labor is starting are losing your mucus plug, having your water break, and having bloody show. Good luck!

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.