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These are my thoughts, yo.

Prodromally Yours

jasmine banks

Hi readers. Did you think I disappeared to have a baby? Well I did. But alas, no baby. Wanna know why? Me too... I'd like to think I am being punished for being snarky and bitchy, but I believe the universe is nicer than that... or maybe I am in denial. Both could be true.  

Here is the skinny:


Thursday night I started having contractions. I was all, "Hellz Yeah Toby! Lets do this." I went for a walk at 2 a.m. because I couldn't sleep comfortably. The next day I called the midwife and she was all, "Dude... your cervix is nice and squishy and baby has decended a bit..." And I was all, "hellz yeah Toby! Lets get you out so I can go chill with @Jdilday and and have a sangria slushie." (I promise I think of *other* things than sangria and Abita Purple Haze... sometimes)

Fastforward LONG story short: Contractions , squeezy, uncomfortable, no dilation, blah blah blah

My amazing midwife has been so patient with me and my nutty body. She has been attentive and kind. She has been educated and mindful of me. Toward the end of checking with no progress she started using the words "prodromal labor". The final word is this- contractions are still here but irregular and not doing much. prodromal labor

prodromal labor

Etymology: Gk, prodromos, running before; L, labor, work
the early period in parturition before uterine contractions become forceful and frequent enough to result in progressive dilation of the uterine cervix.


My life is comical. Really. Hardy Har Har!  *HAD* I known what prodromal labor was I would have know what was happening with Addison. I had irregular/regular contractions TWO WEEKS before I had her. The contractions weren't dilating and I was confused and frustrated with what was happening to my body. My birth with her ended in Pitocin. Nasty nasty Pitocin. Because the OB that was trying to figure out why  I was contracting with no progress explained hat *maybe* my body just didn't know how to dilate. WRONG SIR. It does. It was just all prodromal...*HAD* I understood that my body was working it was just working in a way non-typical to the average experience I would have left that little lady in there a lot longer.
So. My ribs hurt a bit... like I have been doing sit-ups, my cervix is achey because it has been stretching, but I am feeling a lot better (mentally) learning that I am not a total freak of nature and this experience IS something that happens to some women. It will be hard work waiting 2-3 more weeks, especially with contractions that don't go away. I do know, however I have a GREAT support system and people who love me and my long and draw out birthing process. Check this out. I found several other blogs of women experiencing the EXACT same thing. This is from she had the best explanation I have read thus far :)


Prodromal Labor

Prodromal labor can be very confusing! Heck, it's not easy to remember the spelling either!Prodromal labor is also known as "False Labor". Most women will say, "There's nothing false about what I'm feeling!" - and they are right!

Prodromal labor isn't all in vain. These annoying contractions condition the uterus, and prepare the cervix for dilation and effacement. In fact, sometimes the cervix may even dilate and efface as a result. It’s all about your body preparing for the big day. Let’s talk about the differences between Prodromal labor and the real thing.

1. Prodromal ‘labor’ may begin hours or days (and do I dare say weeks?) before active labor. 2. They may feel like Braxton Hicks contractions but sometimes they can be much stronger. 3. Unlike true labor, where contractions usually become longer, stronger and closer together, prodromal contractions are irregular in duration, length and intensity. 4. They may have a pattern and show up about the same time every day (or night). 5. They will stop after 2-3 hours.. 6. They may or may not be affected by your activity. Sometimes a warm bath will make them go away, and on other days, it may run it’s usual course - leaving you to wonder if *this time* it’s truly the real thing! 7. Your cervix may begin to dilate, and efface and you may lose your mucous plug. Nothing false about that!

Many women head to the hospital only to find out after a few hours that it was 'false labor'. In other words, the contractions stopped. You may have dilated, or effaced but they stopped. Being sent home can be emotionally confusing. You are left to wonder how you will know when it *is* the real thing. You might be embarrassed to head back up to the hospital the next time, and then you wonder about giving birth on the side of the road! (For those of you birthing at home, the scenario might be different of course...but for sake of time and length, I'll let you fill in your own scenario blanks).

Most women figure it out. It may take more than one trip to the hospital (or call to the midwife), but don't worry.. eventually you'll end up in true labor that will produce a real baby. Most care providers are used to this type of labor, and would rather you be seen if you feel the need, then miss your birth all together. Typically in true labor, the contractions will become stronger, longer (in length), and closer together. With Prodromal labor, contractions might be 30 seconds one time, and a minute long the next, followed by another one that is 45 seconds. You might have one at 7:00, another at 7:10, one at 7:12, and then another at 7:20. The pattern is usually inconsistant.

Another thing to consider is can you make them go away? Can you stop the contraction by changing your postion? Will they slow down with a warm bath or shower? What about if you eat or drink? Now with Braxton Hix Contractions, these things will usually make them go away. The problem with Prodromal labor is that sometimes these things can make them go away, but sometimes it does nothing. However, you should always have an idea in an hour or two. Most women do not have labors that fast, and if they do, they almost always figure it out in time!

So relax - and let your body do its work. You may find your labor easier, and perhaps a bit faster if you were blessed with prodromal labor. Take advantage of these contractions and practice your relaxation, breathing or whatever you plan to use to cope with labor. EVEN if you plan on an Epidural - because planning an Epidural does not always gaurantee you will get one in time, or that it will work like you expect it to. It's always good to have a back up plan :-)

Posted by ~The~Birth~Teacherat 11:38 PM


Navywifeandmom said...

Never had prodromal labor but I've dealt with precipitous births! As nice as those sound, they aren't fun, either!
December 20, 2008 1:33 AM

Amy said...

I found this very helpful. I had contractions several hours yesterday that never stopped and never helped to really move my body beyond 1 centimeter or 60% effaced. I did end up spending the night in the hospital. They hurt at times they went away at times they intensified. I guess I get to take this one as it comes and learn from it. Thanks for teaching me this it was interesting to learn. Hey I also did lose some of my plug due to the exams last night. So I am not due till April 14th but hey I am getting close!
March 14, 2009 7:16 PM

~The~Birth~Teacher said...

Hi Amy, I know you will be 'term' soon, but you still have a month to go! Sorry you are experiencing the joys of prodromal labor, but it's probably a good thing they didn't kick into real labor yet. Your body is working perfectly - so hang in there :-)
March 20, 2009 9:44 PM

Sarah said...

It might be interesting to know that with some women who labor prodromally, "real" labor contractions resemble false ones in that they are not necessarily regular. (And conversely, some "false" labor contractions can be very regular and consistently long and strong and last much more than a few hours). This can add to the confusion of prodromal labor considerably.I have a blog on Prodromal Birth to help women not feel alone and make good choices when they find themselves in this pattern of labor. It is

Good to see a birth teacher acknowledge the existence of prodromal labor. Some "professionals" (including birth instructors) don't believe it is a valid experience.

July 20, 2009 9:23 AM

The Mengers said...

This has been very helpful! I've been in "early labor" for 2 weeks now. Contractions come and go--rarely regular, sometimes intense. But they have always gone away within an hour or two. I've been dilated, but not very much effaced, and passed my mucus plug 2 weeks ago.
September 1, 2009 5:06 PM