Tori's Blog

What Are “irregularly regular” Contractions?

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Yesterday, I attended a birth that had been pretty long for the mom. She had experienced a couple of days of mild, irregular and annoying (her words) contractions before labor really kicked in. What I was struck with was that she really had managed her labor by separating the “engine is warming up” portion of it (early labor) with the “engine is in full-gear” portion (active labor). She tried to be as normal about her day as she could even though she knew things were happening. This allowed her to have the energy to better manage the very strong, active labor contractions without feeling as though she had been in labor for days.

What I call irregularly regular contractions happen during early labor and are sometimes uncomfortable, but they’re not consistent in their frequency or strength. For example, you might have contractions 6 minutes apart for 30 minutes. Then for the next 30 minutes, they may space out to 12 or 15 minutes apart. Some may be strong; some you may barely notice. They tell you that your body’s labor engine is “warming” up for active labor. A good way to manage them is to try to keep to your normal activities of the day and be sure to stay well hydrated. Being dehydrated can cause contractions that are not useful and you definitely want each contraction to be doing something!

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