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Preparing for Labor

Things to Watch for:

  • Some swelling of the legs and feet is normal. Excessive swelling in the hands and face are not, and you should call our office immediately if you experience this. In addition, if you experience unusual headaches, you should call the office.
  • Sharp abdominal pain with bleeding or bright red bleeding is not normal and you must call the office immediately.
  • You may sense that your baby's movements have subdued somewhat, however, what is happening is that as the baby grows, there is less room for him or her to move. Be aware of the overall patterns of movements as you progress. Please call the office if you have concerns about these patterns.
  • A gush of fluid from the vagina or continuous leaking should be evaluated. If you experience either, please call the office.
  • The onset of labor - If you experience contractions that are regular and are no more than 5 minutes apart, please call the office.


When you finally do go into labor, you may feel generalized pain from time to time. This is normal. If you are uncomfortable at times, you may do any of the following:

  • Sit in a warm bath
  • Have someone give you a lower back massage. Using common household items such as a tennis ball or a rolling pin can be effective.
  • Use ice, a heating pad, or a combination of both on your lower back.
  • Consume water, juice or even a Popsicle as a way of maintaining fluids.

By the time you go into labor, you will likely feel frequent contractions (sometimes referred to as Braxton-Hicks contractions). These are normal and are an indication that your body is preparing for actual labor. While the onset of labor is different for each woman, one or more of the following may occur as you begin to go into labor:

  • You may begin to suffer persistent back pain. Many times the pain will be accompanied by a feeling similar to premenstrual cramps.
  • The appearance of a mucous discharge. It might be slightly blood-tinged. This plug blocks the cervix and its passing indicates that labor could be imminent. Even if it's several days away, this indicates that things are moving in the right direction.
  • You also may begin to suffer from diarrhea.

Last Updated: 10/25/2013