Prodromal labor is used to describe the collective occurrence of several physical changes in a woman's body prior to the actual process of going into labor. In the following article, we will look into the details of the same and learn more about this process.
If you’re pregnant and approaching your due date soon, then terms like false labor, pre-labor or prodromal labor might have been mentioned somewhere during the term of your pregnancy. Although these terms are commonly used, ‘false labor’ is one of the most misused terms in this context. The term prodromal labor is a much more apt term to describe the changes that take place in a woman’s body before she goes into actual labor.
But what is this form of labor? This term is used to describe the period before labor in which certain physical and bodily changes that resemble actual labor, take place in a woman’s body. Even though these changes indicate labor, they do not lead to it. And that is why this period might involve a lot of waiting. Why does this labor take place before childbirth and what are some of the changes that it brings with it? These and some more related queries will be answered in the sections that follow. Continue reading for more details on the same.
The reason that the term false labor is discouraged from usage is because this process is not unlike labor and is in fact an advantage for a pregnant woman because it prepares the body for actual labor. Labor makes a lot of demand on the body and therefore, this form of labor provides the body with the tools that it requires to actually go through the process.
Another factor to understand is that this form of labor might never be the same for two women. The symptoms and the time that it lasts will differ from one pregnant woman to another. For some, it might be a few hours, while for others, it could be a few weeks. The time period of the same will depend on when the symptoms first make way. If these make way early on, then prodromal labor will last longer and if they occur very late into the pregnancy then they will go on for a shorter time period.
The reason why this form of labor is often confused with actual labor is that it brings with it similar signs that labor brings about. The signs and symptoms are often similar to a classic and actual labor process. Let us see what these are.
One of the main signs of prodromal labor is that it leads to a swelling in the body. As the body prepares for labor, it increases the blood content to make up for the loss of the same during labor as well as to provide the essential nutrients and oxygen for the body. Thus the tissues in the body carry more blood and there is a general swelling that is noticed.
When these contractions begin in a woman’s body, they can be easily mistaken for the real contractions that a woman experiences during labor. However, there are certain key factors that set these contractions apart from the real ones, even though it is one of the early signs of labor. These involve factors like regularity, strength, and the location. For this, one has to know the difference between what a contraction feels like when it is a part of the actual labor and one that comes about as a part of prodromal labor.
Contractions that are experienced during this labor are irregular and start and stop unlike real contractions which make way at regular intervals. Along with that, they do not increase in strength and intensity like regular contractions do, but remain mild. The contractions are usually experienced in the abdominal region unlike the real ones that make way from the back to the front.
A good way of distinguishing between the real contractions and those that are produced by this form of labor is to formulate a change in the routine either by performing mild exercises or by eating something. If the contractions die down or the labor pain symptoms completely disappear then it is a part of prodromal labor. Many women also experience Braxton-Hicks contractions that are regular and rhythmic. These are easily mistaken for the real thing. The contractions happen so that the uterus lining and muscles are prepared for the actual process.
Secretion of Liquid
The body also prepares the mother-to-be for the birth and the following maternity by secreting a white liquid from the breasts. This liquid is extremely nutritious and is aimed at providing the newborn with nutrition and thereby strengthen his immune system.
As the time draws nearer, the body will start preparing and clearing itself of all the toxins. This is done by way of mild diarrhea.
Handing the Situation
The symptoms of prodromal labor are such that they lead to anxiety and confusion and most certainly the chances of mounting frustration. The wait can get excruciating. In such a situation certain tips help to keep one’s peace of mind. Here are some things that one can undertake:
- Find ways to relax and de-stress through it all. Listening to music or taking a walk or simply finding ways to rest will ease the pain and calm the mind. The same methods of natural pain relief during labor can be applied to prodromal labor as well.
- Lie in a tub of hot water for a calming effect.
- Try assuming different sleeping positions so that you find one that puts less pressure on the abdomen.
- Drink lots of water and make sure to eat healthy food through it all. The body requires this and one should never neglect this important factor.
Prodromal labor is something that most pregnant women will experience in the last stages of their pregnancy. And though it can be frustrating and painful, depending on the time that it lasts and the severity of the symptoms, the fact that has to be kept in mind is that it is the body’s way of preparing for birth and is thus done for your good and that of the baby’s.
Disclaimer – This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.