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​Labor and delivery

parents holding a newborn baby

Your last trimester is an exciting time. You will want to plan your birth and prepare yourself and your home for the new arrival. Learning about the birth process is important.

Preparing for childbirth

Breathing and relaxation techniques for labor

Pain control during labor

Post-delivery care

Signs and symptoms of labor

Learning about the birth process is important, as is planning for your trip to the hospital. Each person may experience labor in a different way. Talk to your provider about any questions or concerns you have.

True Labor

  • Contractions occur at a regular rate. With your first baby, once your contractions are 5 minutes apart or less, for a minimum of one hour, lasting at least a minute long.
  • How to time your contractions: start with the beginning of your first contraction and measure the time until the beginning of your next contraction.
  • Discomfort increases – you will have difficulty walking or talking through the contractions.
  • Contractions do not subside when resting.
  • Bloody show (vaginal discharge).
  • Rectal pressure – feeling as if you need to have a bowel movement.

False Labor

  • Contractions may be irregular (come and go).
  • They subside or lessen when resting.
  • They do NOT get stronger.
  • No cervical change noted when a provider or nurse completes a cervical exam.

Pre-Term Labor (more than 3 weeks before your due date).

  • Menstrual-like cramps
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Low backache
  • New vaginal discharge, especially if red or pink
  • Pain/cramps every 10 minutes or less that do not subside after resting, drinking fluids or emptying your bladder.

When You Should Be Seen By Your Provider

  • Bag of water breaks/leaking fluid vaginally.
    • This could be a very small leak or a large gush.
    • You do not need to wait for contractions to begin.
  • Constant, severe abdominal pain.
  • Bright red vaginal bleeding
  • Constant rectal pressure
  • Decreased baby movement
  • Continued or severe headache
  • Blurring of your vision or spots before your eyes.
  • Chills/fever
  • Severe or continued nausea/vomiting

Call the Birth Center when labor starts to prepare for your arrival. Talk to your women's health provider about any questions or concerns.