What is Early Labor and How to manage Early Labor?

What is Early Labor? When will my Labor start and will I be able to recognize Early Labor? These are perhaps some of the most often asked questions in the Healthy Mother Lamaze Classes, at The Sanctum, Natural Birth Center.

Most moms and dads (and family) are apprehensive as to what to do when contractions begin, and should they immediately go to their hospital. This panic stems partly due to ignorance about different phases of labor and about when labor sets in, and particularly, what Early Labor looks and feels like. Coupled with that, variety of internet channels like web, videos, give you varying information about Early Labor, only leading to more confusion. Your friends, relatives also provide you with well meaning but often conflicting advise on Labor and what to do when labor sets in.

At The Sanctum, we consider every mother-baby pair to be a unique entity, with its own characterestics and needs. Therefore how labor will look and feel like for one mother may be very different from what it may feel like for another. The Midwifery Model of Care we practice at The Sanctum is all about considering the mother as a unique individual and designing her care protocol in a unique manner for her needs. Therefore every mother needs to understand that HER labor will be different from another mom’s. For her labor might set in differently that for another mom.

However, generally there are a few common themes about Early Labor. This stage is generally characterized by contractions which are far apart, e.g., 10 mins, 15 mins, or even 30 mins apart. Further, these contractions will generally be mild, and last only a few seconds, typically less than a minuite. Typically you will be able to talk through Early Labor unlike the next phase, Active Labor. You may feel excited and nervous. Your family members may pressurize you to immediately leave for the hospital.

What to do during Early Labor?

Contrary to prevailing customs in India, it is best to spend Early Labor at home, doing the normal things you would do. Try not to overly get worried about labor and do things that you enjoy. Go to your favorite restaurant, go for a walk, listen to music, cook your favorite snack or meditate. However take care that you do not become exhausted. Some of our Sanctum mothers even went shopping to the mall, and enjoyed a movie with their partners 🙂 Ask your partner to give you a massage before going to sleep at night. For moms who are being cared for in other hospitals our advice is that unless you have a severe preexisting condition, it is best to spend Early Labor at home, with close communication with your care team, either doctors or nursing team. Start of Early Labor is usually a good signal to partners to start packing mom’s bags.

Many moms do well to manage Early Labor. However some do need some kind of hand holding and support from their caregiver. The midwives of Sanctum are just a phone call away 24 hours, to lend a supporting ear to any worries or fears. Dr. Vijaya Krishnan or the other midwives will listen to your voice over the phone and recognize which phase of labor you are in. On that basis you may be asked to stay at home, while being closely counseled by our midwives all along, or be asked to come to The Sanctum to be cared for by the team.

Watch the video on top right corner, where Dr, Vijaya Krishnan talks about Early Labor, How it feels like and What moms and partners can do to manage Early Labor. If you have specific questions, please do write to us by filling out the form on the right.

If you live in Delhi, Chennai or Bangalore, you and your husband can learn more about Early Labor, Active Labor and the myths and facts surrounding pregnancy and childbirth by attending our Healthy Mother Lamaze Classes taught by our trained and certified partners. Visit our Lamaze Class page to know more about classes in your cities.

Outstation moms ! Do you want an Online Skype Consultation with Dr. Vijaya ? Please fill out the form on top of this page and we will respond in 24 hours with details.

Attend Lamaze classes in these cities for more information on Stages of Labor, How to manage labor pains, Partner role in helping mom cope with labor, Diet, Exercise and much more. You will become knowledgeable and therefore more confident in going through your pregnancy.


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