Pregnancy Tips: Take These 5 Actions for Contractions 10 Minutes Apart
First time parents and expectant mothers are loaded with questions during the pregnancy. If you are expecting a little one, one area that you are most concerned about is labor. Labor is an important part of pregnancy. It is the end of pregnancy and is the process that brings your baby into the world. It is also a stage that can be fraught with confusion and discomfort. Your body will attempt to tell you when labor has started. It can be hard to interpret the signals and to know if they are false or real. Contractions are one such signal. But, do you know what to do for contractions 10 minutes apart? I have put together a guide so that you know what do so when contracts strike.
Before delving into labor it is important to know its stages. There are 3 stages of labor. The first stage of labor begins with the onset of contractions. The abdomen can feel hard as the uterus flexes. When it relaxes it can feel soft. This first stage allows for the softening on your cervix, opening to the uterus. Contractions allow it to slowly open up, allowing for passing of the baby. The second phase of labor is the dilation of the cervix and birth of the baby. The last phase is when the placenta separates from your uterus and is expelled from the body.
The first sign of impending labor is experiencing contractions. They can feel different for each woman. However, they are often felt primarily in the tummy. The sensation can be painful. When you start feeling these sensations and they are ten minutes apart, when do you pick up the phone and call your doctor?
What Steps Do You Take When Contractions Are Coming Ten Minutes Apart?
The first stage of labor is the longest. It can last up to 20 hours. It begins when the cervix starts to soften and dilate. The end of this stage of labor happens when the cervix is fully dilated. Full dilation occurs at 10 cm. Contractions can strengthen in intensity as the cervix dilates from 0 to 3cm. Afterwards, they may lessen in intensity and are usually spaced 15 to 20 minutes apart. Each set of contractions can last up to 90 seconds.
1. Remain at Home or Head to the Hospital
When you start to feel contractions, be sure to grab a clock, stopwatch or even a cell phone to time them. You will need to know how far about they are. Contractions will grown in intensity and consistency. The timing will let you know if you could stay at home or not. If contractions are felt 10 minutes apart you can likely remain at home. However, if you time the contractions and they are coming 7 to 10 minutes apart and seem as if they are occurring regularly, phone your health care provider as soon as possible. They will likely ask questions to gather information about the status of the baby, how you feel and about the pregnancy. They will assess the situation and proceed based on your responses to questions they pose. They will likely advise you to stay home until they feel the labor is at a more advanced stage.
2. Best time to head to the hospital or Doctor’s office
The rule of thumb seems to be that timed contractions 10 minutes apart or longer means you can remain home. Once you begin to feel contractions less than 5 minutes apart, it is best to seek a visit with your doctor, midwife or other healthcare provider. If you wait, contractions can become even more painful and stronger. It can increase your discomfort and anxiety. How you feel determines the severity of the contractions. They are likely to feel worse if you are in a high level of discomfort.
The Active Phase of labor starts when the dilation of your cervix reaches roughly 8 cm. Then contractions are even more intense. Contractions are usually coming every 3 minutes. They are also shorter in duration at between 40-45 seconds. You may have bleeding and an ache in your lower back. This is sometimes called bloody show. This is the time to summon your loved ones and significant others as you are experiencing a stressful situation and could really use their support and love.
Contractions will continue and strengthen. Your water will break. This signals the start of the next phase, also called the Transition stage. By then the cervix has dilated to roughly 20 cm in diameter. Contractions will likely be coming every 2 minutes.
3. Preparations for Labor
Once your timed contractions are 10 minutes apart, it is time to ready yourself. Labor has begun. Previously I discussed the 3 stages of labor. I will now cover the sensations you will likely experience in those stages.
- Early Labor
Contractions are between 5 to 20 minutes apart. The cervix has dilated to roughly 3 cm. Each contraction will last for approximately 45 seconds. You may feel anxious. Take a shower to relax. Try listening to some calming music. Go to the bathroom to relieve yourself and empty your bladder. Don’t eat unless the doctor or medical professional advises you to. Don’t get dehydrated. Drink plenty of clear fluids like water, apple, cranberry or grape juice. Keep an eye on your contractions timing.
- Active Labor
Active labor begins when contractions are coming 5 minutes apart. The cervix has dilated to roughly 8 cm and contractions are intense. They last for 60 seconds or longer. Keep urinating, as often as you need to. Get comfortable. Have your loved one massage your back for relaxation. If you are feeling poorly or in extreme discomfort, head to the hospital right away.
- At Hospital
Listen to your body and the timing of the contractions. Head to your designated hospital if you are in active labor. The staff will assess your vital signs. They will fit you with a monitor to check the baby’s heart rate and condition. They will also measure your cervix for dilation and estimate how long until delivery.
4. Differentiating False Labor from True Labor
Contractions are the signal that indicates labor has begun. It can be hard to distinguish false labor from true contractions.
- False Labor
This is also called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are irregular and are spaced longer than 5 minutes apart. You may feel them when you are dehydrated. This is why drinking sufficient liquids is important.
- True Labor
These contractions are different from false labor. They are regular and increase in intensity. They come 5 minutes apart and last for 2 minutes. These can’t be ignored. They can feel like a backache or cramping.
5. Phone the Doctor
Call right away if your contractions are spaced 5 minutes apart, if they last 60 seconds, if you are having vaginal bleeding, pain or your water breaks. Follow your physician’s directions if they have given your specific directions to follow. This will ensure you have a safe delivery.
Hope those above directions about contractions 10 minutes apart can give you some ideas about what to do during labor time. To first-time mothers: Don't be scared, you should keep calm and relax by getting a massage or listening to Instrumental music. For the best advice, call your doctor, they will know exactly what needs to be done
Remember, though, that the pain will be worth it when your baby is safely delivered. That’s the best part of pregnancy, seeing your baby alive and healthy.