Onset of labour
Finally, the birth is near. In a movie, labour often starts with rupture of the membranes, but in daily life the onset is not always clear. When do you call us? What can you do to cope with labour? What should you do in case of an emergency? What can you do as a partner?
When to call us
First of all, if you are worried you should always phone us at 06-552478953 . If we don’t answer right away, try again. We can see that you called and we try to call you back, so please don’t call anonymous.
You may still be in early labour, but we like to support you. You don’t have to call us to tell us you are ‘niggling’if you do not need us yet. Often your maternity care assistant does want to know when you are feeling the first contractions, to help with the planning.
Most births start with contractions (about 90%) and not with breaking the waters. Often they feel like menstrual cramps that gradually increase in strength. The rule of thumb is to call us when your contractions come every 5 minutes (counting from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next) since about one hour, the contractions last at least 60 seconds and all of them are strong. But every labour is different. Therefore, a more important rule is that you call us when you need us. If the contractions are so strong that you need help to cope with them or they follow one another very fast, you should call us sooner. If you find it easy to cope with the contractions you can wait a bit longer before calling us; the first part of labour can last quite a long time.
If labour starts with breaking your waters it is important to look at the colour of the amniotic fluid. Usually it is clear, like water or milky coloured water. Sometimes the fluid contains small flakes or the fluid is a bit pink. All of that is called clear amniotic fluid.
If the amniotic fluid is green or brown, the baby may have passed stool. Call us immediately, so we can come and have a look. If the baby has passed stool, it is a reason to give birth in hospital with the hospital team. Mostly, babies poo because they are ready for the birth, but sometimes they do because they are stressed. Therefore, the heart beat of the baby will be monitored continuously (CTG).
If the amniotic fluid is clear, you do not have to call if your baby’s head is engaged. Try to sleep a little, because you will need your energy very much when your contractions will start. During the antenatal appointments we will feel whether the baby’s head is engaged. If not, we will tell you to call us as soon as your waters break. We will come and visit you to feel whether the baby has engaged after the waters have broken.