When Labor Begins

Early labor—short, mild contractions 20 or more minutes apart—can last quite a while in a first pregnancy. Check with us at the hospital if you believe you’re in early labor; we can help you decide when to come in.

Try these tips in early labor:

  • If labor begins at night, try to rest while your contractions progress.
  • If labor begins in the day, find a quiet activity to distract yourself—take a walk, visit with a friend, read or listen to music. Sleep if you can.
  • Urinate often to be as comfortable as possible, and because a full bladder can slow the descent of your baby’s head.
  • A long, warm shower may feel wonderful and speed dilation.
  • Labor will slow down your digestion, so eat light, easy-to-digest foods: broths, decaffeinated tea and toast.
  • Use your relaxation breathing as needed. 
See also...

Labor occurs in 3 stages. What to expect.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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