Childbirth is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for any mother, but timing contractions can be especially tricky. The key to understanding when it’s time to head to the hospital or birthing center is knowing how to accurately measure contractions from home.
Timing labor contractions may seem like a daunting task, but with a little practice, anyone can do it. Here, we’ll give you all the tips and tricks needed to time contractions at home like a pro.
What are Contractions?
Before diving into timing contractions, let’s first understand what they are. During childbirth, the uterus contracts in order to move the baby down through the birth canal and ultimately into the world. These contractions tend to start out mild and can then become more intense as labor progresses.
Contractions typically last between 30-60 seconds each and occur every 5-20 minutes initially before progressing closer together as labor intensifies . It’s important for expectant mothers or anyone assisting in their delivery to pay close attention to these signs so they can be ready when it’s time for delivery.
Why Timing Contractions Is Important
Knowing when your contractions have hit full swing is crucial because hospitals generally require that women be admitted after their labor has reached certain criteria known as “active” labor . This means that you will not receive medical assistance until your cervix has dilated/effaced enough which cannot be diagnosed without monitoring uterine activity i. e. , contraction.
Whilst everyone experiences childbirth differently there should be some normalcy too! Understanding how frequently those babies want out of there informs us about whats ‘usual’ on a fundamental level.
When to Start Timing Contractions?
It’s best to start timing contractions once they become regular and increasingly intense this can occur either before or during childbirth but it is still important that early labor signs are monitored ) at least every fifteen minutes for an hour or so just so you get a sense of how far apart they are .
If you’re unsure whether or not your contractions have reached a level of consistency – relax! Take your time familiarizing yourself with the symptoms above mentioned and hopefully counting through any ‘unusual sensations. ‘ It will only take one session of active monitoring with your new skills until being able to confidently say ‘contraction number four has officially started!’ Remember, practice makes perfect.
How To Time Contractions
Now that we understand what contractions are all about let’s check out some varied approaches mothers use in timing their little mini earthquakes!
Using A Stopwatch
Using the stopwatch feature on your smartphone or watch could almost be deemed as too easy. Every time a contraction starts hit that ‘timer’ button then stop it again when its finished, take note of how long each contraction lasts, then give yourself an additional note detailing how frequent these surges happen thereafter. Chronometrées! Perfect.
Opening Up Notepad
Grab pen, notebook whenever there is discomfort building up jot down what started feeling like pain , its intensity plus timings into sentences.
This way you are more careful having recorded relevant facts even if it doesn’t last too long “just incase” things pick up later. , Whilst sitting down/lying this approach is excellent because it helps occupy ones mind amidst anxiety-ridden environments.
Bonus: Reviewing these notes together after delivery may supply anecdotal evidence helping pregnant friends on similar mission.
If technology is your friend , download any of the available contraction timing apps just be sure to read reviews before committing! Many mothers opt for this option as these apps record all necessary data with both intensity and frequency while also having a convenient feature that emails you about previous recordings.
Key indicators to look out for during contractions
Whilst practice requires diligence, pay attention to the following –
Contractions can happen at irregular intervals initially, but during ‘active labor’ each should appear one after another. Once it begins we know how long in between surges so know when next one is imminent.
From onset of single contraction, time until ends A rough average duration could be around ninety seconds – anything closer to two minutes and watch closely – discussing any concerns with your medical professional.
Whilst pain varies from person-to-person an effective hack employed in assessing pain level is through utilizing Nadia’s numbers rating system 1-10; “one” being enjoyable whilst “tens “ requiring being taken seriously. During those intense moments it’s strongly recommended listening+noting where relief resides. . whether that may mean immersing yourself totally within warm water or having someone rub your back/tops of shoulders.
How To Determine When It Is Time To Go To The Hospital?
Here are some signs which show us something bigger is happening:
Contractions increase in duration: Moves beyond their usual range.
CONTRACTIONS ARE ‘REGULAR’: Regularity increases to up every 2-5 mins throughout an hour-long period inclusive of increased severity!
One good indicator especially if delivery appears impending speedily- checking whether there have been noticeable changes on baby’s arrival such as water breaking etc since these are symbols pregnancy’s endgame has begun.
Timing contractions might seem daunting at first, but with a little understanding and practice soon it’s going to become second nature. Rest assured knowing you have now mastered what was unknown in pregnancy’s early days, that knowledge which assisted tremendously during labor dilation/effacement monitoring is on another level! The more attentive we are to contractions the better for guiding us as expectant mothers/doulas.
Lastly we want to remind our readers again of the most important piece of advise- timing labor contractions may be complicated but having accurate measurements can be crucial in guaranteeing mother and fetus health assuring measures taken by medical professionals when situation calls for it.
From here on out your efforts will involve patience and routine checks until ‘ShowTime!’ 🎉👶💜