Labor can start anytime, any place. Chances are labor will start at home, because out of a 24 day, you are at home the most with sleeping. However, it could start while you are at work, in the car, or out and about. How will you handle the different places you may go into labor? Read on for what to do when you finally go into labor.
How to Know You Are In Labor
First, let’s talk about how to know you are actually in labor. One of the uncertainties of labor, besides not knowing when it is coming, is how to know you are in labor and that it is not a false alarm. Labor is tricky to describe to another person. It is difficult to describe what labor exactly feels like.
A question I had when I was pregnant and lots of new moms have is “How will I know when I am in labor?”. Unfortunately, everyone’s labor experience is different and feels different. Labor is very painful for some and not too painful for others.
The best way I can describe how the early stages of labor feel to another woman is it feels similar to menstrual cramps. At first it feels like mild menstrual cramps and then as time goes on they become more intense and you are able to time the cramps.
There is a chance you can have false labor which is when you do go into labor, but then after a short while (few minutes to several hours) it stops. The contractions are irregular and you can’t really time them out. I did not have false labor with my first baby, but my second baby decided to fool me 3 times with false labor before going into real labor.
What to Do When You Go Into Labor
No matter where you are when you think you are going into labor, keep track of your contractions. Start timing them and writing it down. You can do this with a contraction tracker.
It is important to keep track because when you call the doctor to see if you should come in they’re going to ask how far apart your contractions are. Typically, when the contractions are 5-7 minutes apart is when you should call your doctor. If your water breaks or “something doesn’t feel right” are signs to call your doctor as well.
Going into Labor at Work
If you go into labor while at work you likely can’t think straight or aren’t being productive so if you are in labor it may be best to leave work. If you live close or the hospital is close and it is near the end of your work day and the contractions are far apart or not strong it might be alright to finish out the work day.
However, keep in mind this is not the time to be a hero and overstay at work. If you live far away, are past the early labor stage or do not feel comfortable driving, either have a co worker drive you home or to the hospital or call your partner or a loved one to come pick you up. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in traffic driving while in labor or get in an accident because you were focusing on your labor.
If Labor Begins at Home
I went into labor both times at home – both in the night actually, so I didn’t have to worry about getting home or if I should be driving, etc. If you go into labor at home take it easy, try to relax, and get some rest if you can. Do what feels most comfortable for you.
If you are home alone make sure to contact your partner right away and anyone else you need to contact (babysitter, school, employer, other family).
Going into Labor in the Car
Sitting in a car while at the end of pregnancy is not very comfortable. Your body may not like the position and can cause painful feelings. If you think you are in labor while you are driving – forget where you are doing and drive home. Relax on a chair, couch or bed and see if the contractions continue.
If You Are Out and About
When you are moving around and in and out of places it can be hard to tell if you’re in labor. If you think you start to feel contractions and are out shopping, or at a restaurant, or running errands go home and rest on the couch or in bed to see if the contractions continue.
What to Do During Labor
When you finally go into labor it will be an exciting time knowing you are very close to meeting your baby. However, labor can last a long time. It can last many hours to even days. You may be doing hours of labor at home first until your contractions are close enough together to go to the hospital.
While preparing for labor, you may wonder what kinds of things can I do while I am in labor? How will I pass the time during labor? For ideas and ways to pass time during labor click here.
There are a few things to do before leaving for the hospital that will set you up for success when you come home with your baby. Check out this list HERE.
Labor and delivery can be a nerve wracking thing for expecting moms, especially if this is your first baby. There are so many unknowns and uncertainties to when labor will start and how it will start. The best thing you can do is to be prepared as possible for yourself and your baby. Then relax, listen to your body, and follow these tips when you go into labor.
For more on how to prepare for your baby check out my Ultimate Baby Planning Guide. Grab your free 30 item checklist below.
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