How do I recognise it?
It may start with some period like cramps, you may need to use the toilet, the body naturally purging itself ready for birth. Sometimes the first sign is the mucus plug coming away, or perhaps it’s low level backache that turns to something more.
That magic hormone oxytocin is at work, starting to contract the uterus, ready for birth. It starts gently, often not disturbing normal activities and can go off for several hours.
This stage can last for a few hours or a few days, this may sound alarming, be reassured we are talking low level cramps, not full on labour.
How do I manage it?
- Keep things normal, ignore it if you can
- Rest if possible, have a nap
- Distract yourself with a book, film, a small job that needs your attention
- Use a hot water bottle to soothe (not too hot)
- Don’t tell everyone, they will be excited and ask for frequent updates, which can be disturbing and disheartening if not much is happening
- Eat something comforting and nourishing, you may not want a big meal, have whatever you fancy
- Relaxation or breathing exercises can help to calm your mind
- Ask for a back rub
- Go for a short walk, if you can
- Stay comfy, snuggle up on the sofa, watch a film, something funny
- Stay well hydrated
- Use lots of pillows to get comfortable, build your nest, feel supported
- Use your birth ball
- Fill your soul, bake, arrange flowers, garden, play with your pets, listen to uplifting music, cook or chat to a friend
Hope these ideas are useful, pick which you feel would benefit you most.
Above all, don’t rush this- your baby will be here at their perfect time!