When you feel like your labour is about to start please call us at the following number: 06 51 17 24 99 (midwife on duty). When your call does not get through, please try again after two minutes. If this still doesn't connect you to your midwife you can call the Bronovo Hospital (070 – 312 41 41) for back-up and they will reach us. You should call us immediately when you are experiencing blood loss, premature labour (< 37 weeks) or when your water has broken (amniotic fluid is trickling down your body).
When you have reached the 37 week marker of your pregnancy the following may occur:
90% of all labour will start with contractions. This is when your uterus starts contracting. This will feel like cramping in the lower abdomen area and a painful sensation in your lower back and upper thighs. By contracting the uterus the baby will be pushed down the birth canal increasing the pressure on your uterus forcing it to open.
There are several types of contractions: early labour, active labour, transitional “pushing” labour and residual labour.
Early labour contractions:
These contractions are irregular in time variations and can happen weeks prior the due date, usually following a hectic day and in the evenings. Distinctive about early labour is that they do not increase in force or frequency. The discomfort and pain is very real. They will decrease/diminish when taking a warm bath or shower and after a period of rest.
Active labour contractions:
Active or 'real' labour contractions are continuous and last over 60 seconds. It means business when the contractions become more intense and last longer.
When it's your first child, dilation will start when the contractions last about a minute and come every 4 to 5 minutes. Little by little your dilation will progress. Contractions will come more regularly now and will last longer and are more intense. Full dilation will be near when your contractions are every 3 to 4 minutes and are harder to breathe through. This is when you call us. When this will be the birth of your first baby please call us when your contractions are every 3 to 4 minutes for over an hour and lasting about a minute.
When you're delivering your second (or next) child your dilation will progress more smoothly. Without realizing it you can be up to 2 cm with early labour contractions. When the contractions are regularly and strong your labour may even progress faster than you expected. Nevertheless, each birth will need strong contractions to reach full dilation.
With your second (or next) child we will advise you on your delivery plan based on your previous deliveries.
Transitional “pushing” labour contractions:
Up until the last centimetre of dilation you will have the sensation of having to go to the bathroom. This sensation may occur sooner when your baby's head is moving down the birth canal. When your dilation has reached 10 centimetres you will have the urge to push no matter what.
Afterpains can occur right after the birth of your child or even days later. Experience tells us that most women experience residual contractions when having given birth multiple times. Afterpains are necessary to reduce blood loss after giving birth.
The loss of amniotic fluid / rupture of the membrane / water breaking
10% of all labour starts with the rupture of the membrane surrounding your baby. (Commonly known as your water breaking). This can happen at once - you will experience a gush of liquid leaving your body, or little bits of liquid at a time. The amniotic fluid will be clear or slightly white with a sweet odour as opposed to urine, which is yellow and has a pungent odour. The biggest difference (when unsure the liquid that is leaving your body is amniotic fluid or urine) is that you cannot prevent the amniotic fluid from leaving your body. The colour of the amniotic fluid is very important as it will tell us the condition your baby is in. When the colour of the liquid is not clear but a greenish brown (baby faecal matter) you need to call us immediately. This means we need to call in the OBGYN (gynaecologist) to monitor your baby's condition more clearly.
If your water breaks during the night you need to reach us the next morning by nine o'clock. If your water breaks during the day you can call us right after. Try to catch some of the amniotic fluid in either a cup, bowl or a (white) sanitary napkin. If during your last visit, your baby's head did not descend into the birth canal yet you need to call us and lie down (at home).
The discharge of the mucus plug will be accompanied by a little blood loss, usually a brownish reddish colour. You do not have to notify us when this happens, it does not indicate (active) labour yet. Do notify us when you are experiencing other vaginal (red) blood loss.
Loss of movement:
During the pregnancy you can experience regular movement from the baby starting around the 24th week and on a daily basis when you have reached the 27th week marker. The movement can and will diminish during the rest of the pregnancy when the baby grows and its space decreases. You have to feel your baby moving daily, for at least several (10) times. If you are worried or in doubt about the frequency of your child's movement do not hesitate to call us.
When in doubt...
If and when you are worried about your pregnancy and its progress you should always feel free to call us. Whenever.